Inspiring Okeechobee: Celeste believes in lifting others

OKEECHOBEE — Celeste Harvey was born and raised in Okeechobee. Her maiden name was Hawk, so many may know her by that name. Her uncle, Jimbo Hawk, owns Okeechobee Feed here in town. Okeechobee is the only place she has ever lived, and she has never even had a notion to go anywhere else, she said.

Special to the Lake Okeechobee News
Celeste Harvey is pictured with her children Eli and Auburn.

She married “Little Jim” Harvey, son of “Big Jim” or Dr. Jim Harvey, and they have been together for 12 years. They have two children, Eli and Auburn.

Mrs. Harvey and her mom have a store called Lollie’s Hamper which has been open for four years now. When they first came up with the idea to open the store, Mrs. Harvey was working full-time as an insurance agent and her mom had just retired, maybe within two weeks of retiring, she said. Mrs. Harvey came up with the idea for a consignment shop and approached her mom about it and said, “By the way, I need you to run it.” Mrs. Harvey’s mom’s grandma’s name is Lollie, so they thought that would be a perfect name for the shop. In less than 60 days, they had it open, from the night she had the idea to the day they opened the doors.

“That’s how I work. Something comes into my mind. I don’t spend time thinking about it. I just do it,” she said. It’s been more than four years now, and she gives her mom most of the credit because for the first three years, she worked it on her own while Mrs. Harvey worked full-time.

Now, she said she is in the store a lot, but she does have several irons in the fire. She does spray tanning and she is an event coordinator for a family event venue, so she goes in a lot of different directions, she said. Celeste does have a little more time on her hands now so she works in the store to try to give her mom a little bit of a break, because she worked it for so long completely by herself, open to close. She is not sure where she is going full-time from here. She is just trusting the Lord’s plan day by day, she said.

When someone asks her what she does, she said she just kind of chuckles because she feels like she does so many things. “What one thing do you want to know about?” she laughs.

Mrs. Harvey was nominated for an Inspiring Okeechobee story by several different people, and they all spoke of her daily inspirational videos and her gift for helping younger women. Mrs. Harvey says she is all about motivational quotes. She has always loved motivational things. Over the last few months, she went through kind of a downward spiral and was clinging to her faith and devotionals and positive quotes, just trying to completely surround herself with that type of thing. She is the type of person who, if she finds something she likes or enjoys or that speaks to her, she wants to share it. If it hits home with her, it will probably help someone else, she said.

So, she started typing up short things, not lengthy things. She is not a blogger or anything like that. She just started posting motivational things, and she got a lot of feedback on it. People started saying,”Thank you for sharing that. You don’t know how much that helped me.” It would be people she never even met sometimes. One of her friends would share it, and it would connect to someone else. She never used to watch or use the story feature on Facebook or Instagram, but she uses them now, and that is where people seem to be seeing what she shares. She began making little 30-second clips of herself sharing inspirational things that moved her, and after she started doing that, a cousin of hers messaged her and told her they really inspired her.

She said the world and Facebook are so full of negativity, and she really appreciated her “Daily Celeste.” She said it like a joke, but now when she makes her videos, she hashtags and titles it “The Daily Celeste,” and she tries to do one every day. If you want to see it, you have to either be her friend or follow her on Facebook or Instagram. You’ll find it in her stories, not on her page, and the stories only last for 24 hours.

Mrs. Harvey grew up in a small business family. Her family owned a restaurant and Okeechobee Feed so she is very small business, local business minded, she said. Now that her mom has Lollie’s Hamper, and Mrs. Harvey is in it pretty deep herself, she sees what small business does. Where they are located on Park Street with all their neighbors, she helps other businesses anywhere she sees a need. One of the quotes she tries to live by is, “ We rise by lifting others.” She believes that is in all walks of life. If someone walks into their store, and they don’t have what they are looking for, they send them somewhere else here in town. Her passion is small business, and she wants to see small business succeed, not only her own, but the others in town as well.

She often posts on her Facebook page or on the Lollie’s Hamper page a shout out to another local business because her passion is to help other people succeed and to lift them up. Unfortunately, there are so many people in small businesses that do not think that way, and she finds that frustrating, she said.

She said she feels very honored that people find her inspiring enough to suggest her for this series, but she does not do it for the limelight. The majority of the things she talks about are audio books she has listened to or a devotional she has read or just something that has spoken to her. She just wants to share it with others in the hope it will have an impact on their lives as well. There is too much negativity out there already, she said. It helps her to help other people, and that’s why she does it.

Editor’s note: If you would like to nominate someone to be featured in Inspiring Okeechobee, email cwomble@newszap.com.

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