I need to brag a little on this lady.
Bobbie Blakely has been an anchor since I was very young. At around 8 years old, I attended her wedding and not knowing anyone or anything, felt very uncomfortable. While she was getting ready to walk down the aisle, she asked me if I would like to mash up the potatoes for the reception and promptly gave me my first experience with a hand beater and metal bowl. (Do you know how loud and scary those things are?) But not wanting to disappoint, I bravely took up the challenge.
Fast forward a few years to see her and her husband, Craig, taking me and my best friend, Christa Jean, on our first fishing trip on the ocean. Some of our fondest childhood memories were formed that day including the realization that reeling in a 12 lb salmon is HARD.
The next big event was when Bobbie invited me to her studio to design and make my purity ring. This was a crucial point in my life, because while I didn't fully get the vastness of what was being created, I began to form the idea of saving something special for my future spouse. During this day we talked a lot and I formed a deeper connection with Bobbie. She was the first adult I actually felt safe opening up to and sharing some pretty deep and dark stuff from my past. She patiently listened and didn't freak out, (which is what I assumed all grown-ups did), and helped me start feeling like I was important.
Fast forward again a few years, when Micah and I started dating. Bobbie asked if he would like to also make a purity ring. He said yes, and so they headed out to the workshop. While his ring wasn't nearly as cool looking as mine, (which had gold as well as silver), ours made a perfect pair.
A couple of years later it was time to get married. I asked Bobbie again if she would help us with our wedding bands. I knew I wanted to take my purity ring, add a gold band to the top and bottom to make it more "manly" and present it to Micah. She loved this idea and promptly got to work.
I also asked her if she would be willing to make me a flower crown for my big day. (This was the start of her super famous copper flower.)
On my wedding day, she presented me with the crown and placed it on my head.
Several years went by and we lost touch a little. However, on August 8th, 2020, we lost our daughter, Clara Joy. From the moment I knew she was gone; I knew I needed a locket or pendant with her footprint. I prayed and thought about it a lot, but I knew I needed to ask Bobbie to make it. She had told me in years past that she had also lost a baby and so I had some reservations in asking, but I did so anyways.
I knew we had some left-over gold from our wedding bands that we had saved, "for something special". My idea was to have a silver pendant with Clara's initials on the front and her footprint along with it. Bobbie agreed to the idea and while she couldn't promise the timing, said she would do her best. Little did I know what was going on in her heart.
Months passed and once in a while, we would message each other to check-in. I started feeling like maybe I had made the wrong call by asking her to make this piece, thinking it would be too emotional due to her own experiences. However, nothing could be further from the truth. God was working on healing Bobbie's heart from over 20 years of buried pain and grief. (However, I will let her share that story.)
Around the beginning of May, she called me, and we talked for a LONG TIME. I shared how I didn't want to burden her with this emotional task and how I wanted her to feel comfortable and not overwhelmed. She shared how God had been using my daughter's life and death to bring to light all the hurt that needed healing in her own life. She said that now she was at the point where she had grown to love the project so much that she wanted to finish it! We laughed and made plans to meet up in a few weeks for another fishing trip.
The long-awaited day came. We had a wonderful time all together on the Galesville Reservoir and it was so fun to watch my little son squealing with delight when his line went taut. however, the most exciting moment came when I received the little jewelry box that always led to fun treasures.
Let's just say, I loved the pendant. It is simple, yet beautiful and completely perfect. It eclipses my daughter; Clara Joy perfectly. Her life was relatively tiny and short and easy to pass by, but her impact has been huge and is only growing. I now can proudly share her a bit more publicly than before without anything gaudy that begs for an explanation. Discover more: https://www.claraspearl.com
Thank you again, Bobbie, for your 20 years of friendship. From mashed potatoes to fishing, to rings, a wedding, and now death, you have been by my side and a very constant friend. I am so thankful that my own experiences were able to bring you healing that neither one of us could have ever expected. I love you!