Thankful Despite Great Loss
Carrie heard about FirstLook through a friend at church. When she made her first appointment, she was pregnant with her ninth child, but only had one daughter still living. By the time Carrie was 30 years old, she had six miscarriages, including one set of twin girls. Tragically, baby number nine did not make it past 3 months inside the womb.
Carrie started regularly attending FirstLook’s weekly Bible Study class. In addition to her very supportive husband, the volunteers and other Bible Study attendees became her spiritual support, her prayer warriors, her second family. “I guess my pain has helped me connect with others. I was able to speak into another woman’s life I met at Bible study who lost two babies,” Carrie remembers.
Carrie is a natural caregiver and loves to help other people… and even creatures many people are afraid of. Not too long after she lost the twins, her dog attacked an opossum who was carrying babies in her pouch. Only one baby opossum survived, and Carrie decided she was going to do everything she could to save him. She joined the National Opossum society, and was such a good caretaker that Peyton the opossum was trained to use a litter box like a cat, had its own dog bed, and lived to be four years old, which is twice the lifetime expectancy! Carrie considers Peyton her first baby.
While still attending the Bible study, Carrie found out that she was pregnant again. There was not a single day that the staff and volunteers did not lift up Carrie and her baby in prayer. She would update us as she had prenatal doctor appointments, and we would all praise God with her as she told us the good news that her baby boy was doing fine. Baby Luke was born at Christmastime in 2016, and is healthy and keeping his mom, dad and big sister busy!
“I thank God because He gave me the miracle of two children just like I always wanted. The pain of my miscarriages has made me a better mother, because I appreciate and enjoy my children more. I want to hold on to them more. I don’t know how long they’ll be here, so I enjoy every day. I make sure they get plenty of Vitamin K…kisses every day!” Carrie says.
“FirstLook has made a huge difference in diaper and formula expenses too, especially since we are on one income. I’ve earned hundreds of reward points from attending Bible Study, Nutrition, Finance and Parenting Classes. I knew I wouldn’t be able to attend classes once Luke was born so I started saving up, and my husband started attending classes to learn and earn reward points too. He felt like he already knew everyone just from dropping me off, and loved how kind and welcoming everyone was. I recommend FirstLook to my sister, friends and any new pregnant women I meet! I can’t imagine anyone pregnant or with a new baby not coming to FirstLook!” Carrie explains.
A Wonderful Example of a Christian
Everyone who is asked to describe Anita Grafe starts out saying she was a little shy, but so sweet, generous and loving. She and her husband Edward raised chickens and goats and had a large garden. She loved sharing food from her garden and fresh eggs and was happy to make deliveries to people’s doorsteps. She wanted everyone to feel special. Pictures of the new baby goats were often shared with anyone who might need a spark of cuteness in their day.
Anita began volunteering at FirstLook Boutique when the store first opened in 2005, continuing until her passing in October 2016. She was an employee for two years, from 2013 to 2015. She loved being at FirstLook with everyone there and feeling a part of it all. She even came in and volunteered after she left to work at another resale shop and when she was obviously feeling unwell.
Anita was always thinking of her family. If anything came into the store that she felt like Edward could use, or that she could put on her “Honey Do” list for him to hang, paint or fix, she would buy it and take it home. Sometimes she would hide it in her garage before showing it to him and telling him her plans for it, and then she’d come back to work full of giggles. Anita also loved to purchase clothes for her grandkids.
FirstLook Boutique Manager, Brenda Stallcop, reminisces, “My favorite memories of Anita all involve laughter, smiles and hugs. She had a smile that would light up her pretty blue eyes. She could crack a joke with a mischievous grin and a twinkle in her eye. Anita gave the best hugs! Her hugs could warm you up from the inside out, fix a wrong or hurt, and put a smile on your face. Her love for people was only surpassed by her love for the Lord. She was a wonderful example of a Christian woman, friend, wife and mother.”
FirstLook will be forever grateful to Anita and her family for her 11 years of faithful service.
102 FirstLook babies were born in 2016. Birthday bricks have been engraved for these children. Every donor who gives at least $1,000 to the new clinic More Than Bricks building campaign may take home a birthday brick and commit to pray for this child. More than half the bricks were taken home at the TX Life Investors’ Celebration, and there are still more bricks available. Reserve your brick today!
The Urban Well Magazine and FirstLook have the common goals of serving the Ellis County community, bringing the truth to people, and giving all glory to Jesus Christ. The Urban Well is a faith and culture magazine for all generations to enjoy. Look for FirstLook’s article and advertisement in every issue of The Urban Well! To learn more, go to www.urbanwellmag.org.
More than bricks
Our More Than Bricks Celebration was a wonderful success. Along with giving to the 2017 operating budget, generous donors gave over $70,000 to the building fund. Construction plans for the new FirstLook clinic are being completed, and we are working with the City of Waxahachie for approval of the site plans and the building. The next step will be to secure interim financing. God willing, we will have a ground-breaking celebration on YMCA Drive this summer. Our More Than Bricks campaign will continue with our goal being to move into the clinic mortgage-free. If you are considering an investment in the life-affirming outreach of FirstLook in your community, and would like to personally meet with a Board member to learn more, call Donna at 972.938.7900. You may also give online here.
We often are asked these questions by those we meet in the community who support FirstLook’s mission and vision. “What can we do to help?” “What do you need?” “What can our church (or sorority, or class, or small group or club) do to support FirstLook?”
The More Than Bricks Changelope Campaign is one simple way for even families to join us in the fight for life. Even your spare change can make a big difference.
In the past, many of our supporters have given through our Change for Life baby bottle campaign. This year we are using the Changelope, a simple box that opens up so that you can fill it with your change, bills or checks.
Your investment will go directly to the More Than Bricks building campaign to help us build our new clinic. With more than double the space, we will increase the number of clients we serve, and be able to enhance and grow our programs.
We can only realize our vision of ending the perceived need for abortion and strengthening families in Ellis County with your help.
Will your church or organization partner with us in this simple way? Will you help us build a culture of LIFE in our community?
Give us a call at 972.938.7900 to schedule your organization’s campaign. All supplies and publicity materials are provided.