Sunday, August 5, 2012

An Extraordinary Friend

It was a year ago this month (Aug. 2011) I sat with an extraordinary dear friend.  Sheri Kaetzel and I sat sipping coffee and unfolding all the mysteries of life as girlfriends will do.  What would be next in this season of motherhood, sending my last child to school?  I am not one to sit and dilly-dally with no plan. I like having a plan, and today there is one brewing. Today, a day in August 2011 sitting in the sunshine, or a coffee shop, or her home, I can’t remember.

“Sheri I am going to start planning a kid’s store.” 

I keep going back to what started my career over 20 years ago.  I love kid’s room design, but business is much different. The economy adds more struggles, and yet parents still want to have special places and spaces for their kids. I processed my desire outward with Sheri.  Told her I would be spending the next year collecting items that have been loved before, in high design fashion for kids.  I would also start collecting new designs and plan to build something. I wanted new and re-purposed kids room furniture and decor. 

I promised my husband that my consulting career would continue, and self-fund this project.  No big loans, no lines of credit, no dipping into our savings.  God has put this desire in my heart, and He will see me through this next year.  Two things happened in the weeks that followed that were kind of weird and quirky, or just a simple act of God orchestrating events into my life.

Sheri called to tell me she had “some things” for me to help get me started on this journey.  Apparently she was one of my customer’s from a store I had over ten years ago. She brought me things from her attic.  Things she had purchased over ten years ago to decorate her own son’s room.  I could not believe what I was seeing. Bags and boxes of lovely loved before décor, from my store of the past.  She contributed those first items into the bins that would be stored in my garage for when that time would come.  

Within a few days of receiving those things, I got calls to work with clients on the building of their businesses. More work than I knew what to do with.  That self-funding project was going to actually build confidence in my husband that God just might be laying out this plan.  Not only was I able to find products that were lovely, but now more work to keep me busy and fund this dream.  It was busy and late nights, more self-education, and sometimes tears as the plans moved forward.  Only thing I was not driving this project.  Things kept unfolding before I realized it was yet another step into the direction of where I wanted to go. 

January 2012 launched the start of a website. More work. More tears, more wondering if this is what I should be doing.  David continued to encourage me to keep pressing forward. Emily believed I had turned into a computer geek. Elliot laughing at this new language of technology his mother was using. There was more learning and self-educating on how to manage and run a website. I finally felt like giving up.  I sat in my dining room begging God to give me direction.  I sent a Social Media guy I had followed on twitter a direct message.  Asking what his fee and time were worth for me to ask my 100 questions.  He responded.  Within a week he and I met. The craziest of connections is that his parents were two lovely Italian folks who poured love into my daughter Emily. I choose randomly some guy out of millions who not only lives practically in my backyard, but his parents know my daughter well. Robert began to give definition to doing business in 2012.  He worked closely with me.  Educating me and challenging me.  I was no easy student, and he told me so.  God’s direction and provisions once again.

One day I received an email from a woman who needed help starting her business in Portland, OR.  She said she saw a status update on Sheri Kaetzel’s Facebook page about my business as a consultant.  After looking at my very generic consulting website she contacted me.  Because I assumed she and Sheri were friends, I also assumed they had talked and Sheri referred me. Note to self, “send Sheri a thank you card for the referral.”.
As I began to work with this new client, I shared with her that she had a gift in her location.  There is so much growth that was happening in the 1-2 year plan, and my desire to have my own store in the next 2 years in this area.  Basically that was all I said about that and my time with her each week was all about building her business and getting her ready to launch her store opening.

A few weeks into this business relationship, she sat me down and said,
 “I need to talk with you.”
It seemed serious.  My first thoughts were that she was getting cold feet about her opening date, or that she was not sure she could do this. Jitters for a store opening in less than two months is often cause for anxiety, so I expected it.  Only she had nothing about anxieties of her store.  She simply said, “I would like to offer this location to you.” She had additional space for a second boutique and additional warehouse space, and parking. All things I would look for in my own store.  I could not believe it. I asked her if this was some kind of “flip” statement.  She assured me that it was not.

I got into my car that afternoon to return back home.  Excited, but also keeping my emotions in check, driving and asking God is this really the right thing I should be doing?  I have a two year plan, and I am only almost a year into my plan.  I called Emily to tell her of the news. David was not available and I had to share with someone, while still keeping it on the “down-low”.  Emily and I talked and soon talk of a desk I had painted eight years ago for the Street of Dreams came up. It was a desk that would look darling in a new little boutique.  I was sad to have sold that desk over 8 years ago, but now dreaming of a boutique longing to have it back.  That night, thinking of furniture I went onto craigslist and found this lovely desk.  The very desk I had painted over 8 years ago, now on craigslist the very day I am dreaming of it.  Is this how God shows Himself?  

Is this a fluke or this God saying, “Elizabeth, you are a designer, and this is how I get your attention. I am here and I know your heart and your desires, no go and open that store. I know your plan is still two years out, but Mine is now.”

David and I sat and talked and worked through the details of me stepping into God’s plan.  With full support and cheer leading from my husband I stepped into this new plan.
Last week, Sheri and I sat downtown having lunch.  I never did write that thank you note to her for her referral.  Over lunch I  simply asked about her relationship with Marcella, my client who made my store location possible.  Sheri went on to tell me that she really does not know her.  That they had a mutual friendship through their church.  I was shocked to learn this. 

“Sheri, you made a status update on Facebook that Marcella saw. I assumed she was one of your friends and you referred me".
"You mean Marcella saw that one update?” said Sheri  
"Sheri you do realize that you are the one God used to set His plan in motion.“
Knowing Marcella as I do now, this is even more profound because she is someone who is hardly on Facebook. Sheri who is notorious for having many status updates during the day, and Marcella being online to see that one update which would change her life and mine.
Sheri and I sat through our lunch embracing how God orchestrates His plan and how she was used from beginning , a year ago, to this week, almost one year later.   God chooses people, He chooses events, in His timing.  Do you see it? Do you get it?  I did not get the full picture until sitting with Sheri over lunch. Together both of us sitting in utter wonderment of God.  He is real and He knows the desires of our hearts.  He uses extraordinary in ordinary. He used people, He is the master of orchestrating our lives if we are obedient to Him. 

If you read my blog you know my heart and desire to be obedient to God’s call in my life. Not some big great thing, but the small every day stuff.  I did not feel I could take on Marcella as a client. Evaluating the work load and the management of my time I did not see this shoe fitting.  God spoke to my heart to work with Marcella.  It did not make sense, and yet in obedience to God I listened.  I have a God who presses into my thoughts and my heart.  

A dear friend who started this journey with me a year ago, is once again used by God.  I cannot for one minute write about an amazing career and now a store. All of this has absolutely no meaning if it’s all about me. It’s all about who God is and how He works the story of our lives, of my life.

God->David->Sheri->Marcella God has placed you in places that are part of His plan. Out of your prompting and obedience He is now working a new story into my life.   Who knows what this next season will bring, but this I know to be true God does gives us the desires of our hearts. Others may not get it, others may not even rejoice with you, but ultimately I rejoice in honoring God as He is and that one day in August of 2011 using an extraordinary friend name Sheri.  Blessings and Joy dear friends, Elizabeth


  1. Dear Elizabeth, I am humbled by your words. Like you, I am a clay vessel used by God. Unbeknownst to me being used by Him to connect you and Marcella.

    I love how He has orchestrated this plan and in such short time... proving that He is at work. And I am blessed to know even more of the story which is about you being obedient to Your Lord and using the gifts which He has given you.

    I am not sure if I have been known to be notorious, but I like it! So glad that my annoying tendency to over-post on Facebook brought about such a God-thing.

    I love you, darling!

    1. You are notorious for amazing FB status updates, stepping into God's business, and being a terrific friend.

  2. Well what do you know? Isn't God something?! So glad to hear the back story to all of this. Praying it's all going well and exceeding your dreams!



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