After a full-time career in product development, branding, and retail forecasting, Carla shifted her focus and began to share her expertise with the non-profit sector.
She joined the Anchor Board to focus on the branding and marketing side and is looking forward to continuing to expand The Anchor’s reach across the country, bringing its unique format and message of hope and encouragement to more women nationwide.
Carla lives in beautiful Washington state and is currently an empty nester. She launched her interiors business during COVID to help others make their homes their favorite place to be!
Five years ago, one of my closest friends lost her husband in a ski accident. As I coordinated meals and other help for her, I found that I ended up with a list on my desk of women who had reached out to help with comments like “Let me know when she needs something” or “I don’t know what to do or say but I want to help.” After a week or so, I had a dozen names on that list, so I came up with the idea for the Calendar Girls.
Me, Nichole, and Molly. Molly was who I originally created the calendar girls for.
I had wanted to find a gentle way to support her through what I knew would be a challenging first year without her husband so I reached out to a few more friends and a few neighbors and collected e-mail addresses until I had 31 unique names. I assigned each woman to a day of the month. Their mission: to PRAY specifically for her on their day of the month and to reach out via a call, card or text so see if she needed help or support in any way. We began on the Monday after the memorial service. In the instructions to the Calendar Girls, I included a list of important dates like her birthday, her husband’s birthday, and their anniversary so everyone was aware of those specific events should they fall on someone’s assigned day.
There was no need to ever switch days with anyone as no one had to be present physically to support her (although she did accept offers for company on dog walks, coffee dates and the like). She received a copy of the calendar before we began so she knew who might reach out on any specific day. All the women were told that for the next 12 months, they would be praying specifically for this friend and her family on their specific day of the month.
The goal was not to be intrusive or overwhelming, especially as she tried to return to a new “normal” over the course of the year but rather, just to check in with her, love on her, and share their prayers with her. This was a beautiful way to spread out the love, share the load and ensure that everyone who wanted to support her would be given the opportunity. And it wasn’t a huge time-commitment — you only had to reach out once a month on your specific day.
I am grateful to share that the Calendar Girls has been a great success. I recently created a new calendar for another dear friend who recently lost her husband and, like Molly, is now being encouraged daily by the prayers of others. If you know of someone who has lost a spouse or a child or someone else very dear, consider creating your own calendar and supporting them in this unique way.
If you do create your own calendar, share your stories with us on our Instagram or Facebook! We would love to hear from you!
Natalie, Nichole, me, Janna, and Renee. These women are all Calendar Girls for Janna who I most recently created a calendar for
Get an inside look on how Carla creates the Calendar Girls:
Written by Carla Vail for The Anchor Journal
Join us on February 2nd at 6:15pm in person and live-streamed on YouTube at 7pm!