Guest Post: KLH Designs

I've been so eager to share this post with you all. Kerra was a dear friend of my cousin, Cheryl, who passed away this past Spring. Even though I've never met her in person, I feel like I know her in a way because of how highly Cheryl talked of her. 
I feel so inspired by Kerra, a stay at home mom and a small business owner. I love seeing moms tenderly caring for their children, and in the midst of that still making time to pursue their dreams and passions. She does this well.
When I heard about Kerra's latest project in memory of Cheryl's life, and how it was going to impact so many young moms, I knew I not only wanted to support it, but I also wanted to share it with you all. So without further ado, here's Kerra:
Guest Post: KLH Designs | sarahesh.com
On one of those hot summer days in Central WI, my mom and sister sliced peaches and dropped them into jars. I sat at the table, too young to help. I remember drawing and I remember Mom complimenting me, giving me tips.
I loved drawing.
I knew I wanted to be able to draw and paint like Mom. I loved Mom’s paintings and her blue ribbons from high school. I can still see rows of smiling, curly haired people that mom drew while she talked on the phone. Mom was my coach. She told me how many heads tall to draw an adult person. Once she took my pencil and instantly rescued the lifeless eyes of a portrait I worked on as a young teenager.
Sometime after high school graduation, I contemplated how I could incorporate art in to a job. My interests had turned to digital art, graphic design.
In the back of my mind there always hung a bothersome question : Can I really make art a worthwhile life work?
Did God really want me to just be an artist? Did He have a purpose in my interests?
The year I turned 18, my oldest brother helped me set up a small graphic design business: KLH Design. I designed brochures, business cards and flyers for a few local businesses. It wasn’t much, but I enjoyed myself and learned so much from those jobs. Shortly after I turned to graphic design as a side venture, I was offered a job as secretary for a family practice clinic. I took the position and loved it. I thrived in the social environment, especially on the days I had good heart to heart conversations and laughs with my coworkers.
I still took the occasional design job and spent hours designing as a hobby. Mom continued to provide me with the advice, tips and practical suggestions that I needed.
Then, Mom died. We had known she didn’t have long to live after the breast cancer diagnosis, but nothing prepares you for the death of your mom. I often cried when I left work at the end of the day. I drove a lot of extra miles that summer. I had some special routes I would take when I needed to cry and pray and think and be alone for a long time. There were long dark days, and a very real loss of vision in the things I used to really care about. One afternoon before Mom died she told me that she wants me to have the beautiful fall painting that always hung in our home.
Life has been constant change since that year, and often I struggle to keep up. I met my husband Stan the year after Mom died. We got married the next year. We became parents, and how our lives have changed again! Our daughter, Mya Elsie, is such a blessing to us. She just started walking. She holds entire conversations without using words, only childish babbling. She laughs at her own jokes sometimes, jokes without words of course. I can’t wait to hold real conversations with her.
After Mya’s birth, I traded my job behind the desk for a job on the rocking chair. My hours were never, ever the same. I never left the job at the end of the day and locked the door. I ached all over. I felt dependent.
Guest Post: KLH Designs | sarahesh.com
The first time I ventured out to Marshfield to get my groceries, I asked my sister to go with me. I was terrified. What if Mya just cries and cries? I felt like I needed on call back up all the time. I missed Mom more than ever. Am I doing this right? Mom, can you come help me today?
Eventually motherhood began to feel a tad more familiar. I started to notice other moms. I remember seeing a mom with a brand new baby in Walmart. The baby was crying just a bit, and I noticed its mother. Maybe she hurts all over. Maybe she didn’t sleep last night. Maybe she still has errands to run, but will have to go home before she is finished. Maybe she is scared. Maybe she wonders if there are any other moms like her, who feel so blessed and yet so overwhelmed.
I remembered how I often heard mom praying for the young mothers in church, and it made so much more sense to me now.
During this transition to motherhood, Stan and I talked more seriously than ever about a home business idea for me that we had been discussing for quite a while: designing a little line of inspiring plaques to sell. Stan encouraged me so much. I would never have done this without his love for me and for my work, and his help and support all the way. Finally, it felt like the only way we would find out if it was right or not was to give it a try. I was attracted to the design of the small, self-standing signs. I wanted them all to carry words of truth and meaning.
I still had my business name, KLH Design, although I hardly did any graphic design for work. The original idea of doing graphic design for local businesses didn’t feel compatible with my life as a mom. We never even considered picking it back up. There would be too many deadlines and too much communication that would need to happen. I would need something I could do at my own pace, on my own schedule.
I worried about my love of art and this small business taking precedence over my work as a mom, and I still constantly need to keep priorities in focus. I have chosen not to do a lot of custom work. If someone asks me to do a big project, I ask Stan about it first. I am blessed by the memory of my mom, who was always writing, some as a hobby, some as a small source of income, and still loved and cared for her children. She published a book, and my dad carried on her second book project, her cancer story, which was published after she died.

I officially opened my Etsy shop last November. It has been a tremendous blessing and challenge to me, and my hope for each sign is that it is a blessing and inspiration to all who see it. I hope that somehow others can see God through the words and the art. He deserves the honor.
Then God opened up another door. During these months of adjustments and sometimes loneliness in motherhood, I’ve been thinking more and more about the moms I see around me. I decided to design a few special signs for my shop. The proceeds from these signs go toward a fund that will be used to purchase gift cards from local coffee shops. Attached with the gift cards will be some words of encouragement and explanation. I will distribute these cards to young mothers I see while I do my weekly grocery shopping. I have been excited and overwhelmed by the support I have felt, and am looking forward to this! It is something I can do for other moms with my business that will take no extra time from my family. I am shy by nature and am glad for a way to perhaps start conversations with other moms that I otherwise wouldn’t.
It’s amazing to look back and see how God has taken bits and pieces of my life which have brought me to this point of being a wife, a mother, and being able to enjoy and use my love of art. I can’t wait for heaven when ALL of life will make sense. Be faithful!
Guest Post: KLH Designs | sarahesh.com
You can find Kerra's beautiful work on Etsy and follow KLH Design Shop on Facebook.


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