Today is all about one of those presents that you never knew you needed.

But after someone gives it to you and you open it? You wonder how you ever lived without it.

It’s actually Denton’s (my oldest son’s) entry into the handmade present situation.


It’s official.

The second generation is now making handmade presents, too.

I think they’ve watched all of us with our dramatic presentations and speeches and stories through the years and decided that handmade presents are where it’s at and started making their own.

And like all good handmade presents—it starts with a story (of course it does).

A story that begins just like this.

I’ve never met a happily-ever-after I didn’t like.

I can’t help it.

I’m all about a movie where everyone walks off into the sunset together.

You know—like the one about the girl who owns a coffee shop that she’s poured her heart into in a town where everyone drinks coffee and hangs out and reads the newspaper together. But tragedy strikes and she’s about to lose the coffee shop because the economy has taken a turn for the worse and she tries to hide her sadness by telling everyone she’s really okay. It looks like all is lost. It looks like there’s no more coffee shop. It looks like cappuccinos and frappuccinos and whipped cream are a thing of the past. Then suddenly a New York playwright shows up in town on a white horse, looking for inspiration and soul-saving and he drinks her coffee and writes a play and falls in love with her and saves her shop.

Or where the girl meets the guy and he’s a famous cooking personality and he has his own show and she doesn’t really know how to cook and she finds him overbearing and obnoxious and thinks he knows everything about cooking (which he does of course because he’s a famous chef) and she wants nothing to do with him even though she has to promote him because it’s part of her job. And along the way, she notices that he has amazing hair and discovers that underneath all that bravado is an incredible man who’s just lost his way a little.

Just a little.

And she falls in love with him.

And he falls in love right back.


A happily ever after just like that.

That’s how I pictured love.

That’s how I thought it should be. You know—red roses that show up unexpectedly and poems and songs composed in your honor and sparkling stars in the sky and trails of petals everywhere….

….and fireworks.

Fireworks every day.

Just like in the movies.

And so when I got married to an incredible man—I waited for all the romance to show up.

And occasionally it did.

Over the years there have been some flowers and singing in the car together and once I heard a version of “Roses Are Red” when I made him potato salad and sometimes across a crowded room those twinkling brown eyes make my heart beat faster and I see sparkles.

But along the way you know what I’ve discovered?

You know what they never really talk about in all the romance movies?

It’s that sometimes the happily-ever-after isn’t in the grand gestures and proclaiming your love across the Grand Canyon or on the big screen at the football game….

….sometimes love is in the everyday.

In the smallest of gestures.

In the littlest of moments.

And sometimes when you least expect it a little piece of happily-ever-after shows up.

Several years ago when we still lived in Kentucky I was traveling home on my 1700th trip promoting one of the books and I was tired and weary and worn and trying valiantly not to cry as I looked up and saw a mile marker that told me there were still 27 miles to the Kentucky border.

I just wanted to be home.

I just wanted to see my family.

Suddenly my phone rang and my husband’s voice came over the car.

“I was just checking on you,” he said.  “How close are you?”

At the sound of his voice, I started crying.

I told him I was worn out.

I told him I just wanted to be there instead of here.

I told him I didn’t want to smile one more smile or start one more conversation or talk one more word. He listened to me quietly as my frustration and sadness and worn-outness poured out of me. He listened to my complaints. He listened to my tears.

And then when I was finished?

He didn’t say a word.

Instead, he sang to me.  He sang songs about my name and old country songs and new praise songs and songs about country roads and songs that made me laugh and giggle and nod and sing along.

Every. Single. Mile.

He and his guitar sang me home on that long ago night.

I’ve told this story to my children so many times.

Most of the time it’s accompanied by eye rolls and just between us—I’m not even sure if they understand the point of the tale or how special that moment was to me.

Most of the time I’m not even sure they were listening.

But they were.

Because on Christmas morning Denton stood up and made a presentation of his handmade gift—just like all his aunts and uncles and parents before him. He handed me my phone and told me to go to my music library and look at my playlists.

And there it was.

A playlist.

An entire list of songs Denton had put together with my husband. Denton taped my husband singing so many of the songs he sang to me on that long ago night. But this time? My husband sang his part—the melody or the harmony or whichever part my husband sings when we sing together—so I could sing my part in the car when he wasn’t there to sing with me.

I pressed play on the phone and heard his voice and tears streamed down my face as I listened.

It was amazing.

My very own sing-along handmade present.

I’m so incredibly in awe of a son who listened to my stories and thought up a present like this.

I’m so thankful for a husband who sings my songs.

And I’m so grateful for a playlist that understood the assignment…

….and showed up with a happily ever after. 🙂

PS If you want to hear my favorite song on the playlist I uploaded it here.

It’s the song I was named after, “Kari Waits For Me.”

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  1. Image for Maria Maria

    How wonderful! You are so blessed to have such a loving, thoughtful husband, and a son who recognizes the importance of things like this.

  2. Image for Susan Perry Susan Perry

    Good morning…I’m a follower….and read your articles and enjoy your recommendations. I need a long lasting fragrance for my home… to plug in, I guess… walking into a 5 star hotel and the smell is wonderful….do you have any recommendations on home fragrances….a device and the scent? Thanks so much, Sue

  3. Image for Janette Deans Janette Deans

    I'm crying, its beautiful and touching and such a wonderful story with a wonderful ending and as usual I am crying. The thought behind this is just so beautiful, as beautiful as the time your son made a book of all your emails, that was another time I have cried with you Keri, but wonderful. You are so lucky with this amazing family of yours. xxx

  4. Image for Vickie England Vickie England

    I’m not crying you’re crying! 😂 Thank you for that beautiful story. Your family’s story could be a hallmark movie.

  5. Image for Jodena Beale Jodena Beale

    Awwww KariAnne There aren't any words I can say to you that would make you know what a blessing you and your family are to each other. You have all the words I could say, on a gift from your son, waiting personally just for you. ❤️

  6. Image for Sharon Sharon

    I so love it when you write in your blog. I am not a DYIer, but I still follow your blog, for these kinds of entries that you do occasionally. Thank you!

  7. Image for Tara Tara

    That is so sweet! It is always nice when someone is listening! It feels like a big hug that you desperately need. We overlook things sometimes bc life is hectic and busy and stressful but if we can slow down and take a deep breath we might catch more of those sweet gestures from others trying to show their love for us in their own way. Such a thoughtful gift!!

  8. Image for Kim Goode Kim Goode

    Oh Kari!! How Absolutely Priceless!!🎵🎵❤️❤️. I too am a hopeless romantic. My favorite movie of all times is Somewhere in Time with Jane Seymour’s and Christopher Reeves filmed on Mackinac Island in Michigan. Michigan is my home state. I totally understand how you feel. Thank you so much for sharing this. Made my heart Happy. And it is so true that even the small gestures are so important at leaving imprints on our hearts❤️❤️

  9. Image for Sally Ide Sally Ide

    What a precious and beautiful family you have and what your husband by helping you through a difficult day was so kind! How lucky you are to have a Son that made that lovely gift for you!! You are truly Blessed!!

  10. Image for Keena Keena

    Ditto to all the wonderful comments! I love that you shared the song! You bless the lives of all of us that get to start our day happy because your positive attitude and sharing your family with us! Your husband needs to make a record and give Denton a huge high five for his awesome gift!

    1. Image for Ronda Ronda

      Denton, bravo times one million! Thanks for listening to your mom’s story/stories and creating an awesome playlist. So very cool. You have touched so many lives now with your heart-warming gift. Kari, thanks for sharing the story and song! I love you and your family!

  11. Image for Cindy Vojanec Cindy Vojanec

    God has truly blessed you with this family of yours. I am in awe! My son wrote and sang an original song at my second wedding. I will never forget it. ( unfortunately it has dissolved but I will never trash the video of him singing.)

  12. Image for Janice Paschal Janice Paschal

    Wow! Music speaks to almost every heart and soul. What a special gift to be able to hear Denny singing anytime you want and what a wonderful son you have for not only listening to your story over the years and then creating such a special gift. You are blessed!

  13. Image for PJ PJ

    Wow, another sweet story. It's nice hearing the voice that goes with the man you married. Your Denton is also a catch and that special young woman will be blessed to have him. Have a great day.

  14. Image for Teresa Gonzales Teresa Gonzales

    Awe that story made me one eye cry (other eye doesn’t tear since cancer) into my coffee. So sweet and what a perfect gift from a son who listened and learned❤️

  15. Image for Diana Diana

    I love these stories, handmade presents and all. Thank you for sharing your loving family with us. You are very blessed and they are wonderful and thoughtful people.

  16. Image for Leslie Watkins Leslie Watkins

    Precious and priceless! Love that the tradition is being passed and preserved so well. Denton accepted and rocked this one… Applause and accolades!

  17. Image for Joanne McNevin Joanne McNevin

    WOW! I’ve never met any of ya’s but it made me cry! Such a beautiful thing to do! Congrats on your happy ending 👍

  18. Image for Debbie Debbie

    I love your storytelling, KariAnne! It warmed my heart reading this! Now I wonder how Denton, and your husband,will ever top this heartwarming gift?!

  19. Image for Olga Haberl Olga Haberl

    This brought tears to my eyes, Karianne. I could envision you driving home and unloading all your frustrations while he gave you the time you needed to get it all out. What a beautiful inspiring story! In addition, your son has learned from the best. He has learned to be sensitive and thoughtful. Those are the best gifts!!! Happy New Year to you and your beautiful family. 🤗

  20. Image for Sharon Bowman Sharon Bowman

    That is the most precious gift. Your husband is a treasure. He gave you just what you needed to get you safely home. Your son has learned from one of the best.

  21. Image for Diana Clark Diana Clark

    KariAnne having been married for 53 years and being lucky to have a husband who is like yours and knows when to lift me up I am so happy for you. Not everyone is as lucky as we are. This morning I was at the kitchen sink when my sweetie took me in his arms and we danced. Once in Lowes we were joking around and a lady came up and said how cute we were. My daughter tells us the same thing. I think real love shows through. Your son making that recording for you means you have taught him well. I suspect his wife will be a lucky woman too! Here's to many more happy years my friend.

  22. Image for Peg Peg

    I can't help but think - " It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled 'till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.” You are one lucky lady!!! xoxo

  23. Image for Beth Beth

    This story brought tears to my eyes, both for how wonderful your husband is and how thoughtful your son is. He will be a wonderful husband and spouse because he's had such awesome role models. It's wonderful to see our kids grow up and realize they really got the important things!

  24. Image for va in NC va in NC

    Thank you for sharing this....thank you for your wonderful family. We don't see enough of moments like this in today's world. So good to know of this. Blessed by your family is such a treasure.

  25. Image for T J T J

    Well this is a part of your life - wonderful husband and a wonderful son! Wow And it sounds like you love Hallmark! ha

  26. Image for Linda Linda

    Perfect! You are doing so many things right KariAnne. Your family is precious. (And by the way, I think you should submit scripts for Hallmark movies! 😊😍)

    1. Image for Roz Roz

      I agree completely with Linda! Kari, your story would make a wonderful script for fact, I envisioned this story as I read it. Heartwarming, when our children show us that they HAVE been absorbing and that rolling eyes are just printing the images on their souls.

  27. Image for Lynn Mosher Lynn Mosher

    OH...MY...GOSH! What a makeup streaker! How precious is that?!!! You know I love your stories and this is a heart-thumper! Such a special gift! Well-done, Denton! And it's the little things in marriage that keep the marriage going, through the good and the not-so-good. We will have been married for 58 years in July. And hubby still makes me laugh and knows when to make me laugh. May you have a bazillion more happy days with twinkle-eyes! 🥰

  28. Image for DeMarie Ingraham DeMarie Ingraham

    Oh my, now this one brought a tear. You lucky ducky. If (God forbid, ‘cause you know that it would not generally end well) they ever start cloning people, the world would be a better place if they clone your dear hubby! You can tell him I said so, but not to get too big a head that his hat won’t fit!🤭 So very sweet and your son is taking cues from his dad which is absolutely wonderful. This IS fairy tale and Hallmark stuff!

  29. Image for Alice Hanson Alice Hanson

    Kari! What special gift. I’m tearing up sitting my kitchen. I love all your homemade gifts. I always HAD to make gifts because I had more imagination than money 😉. I so excited when I could finally BUY gifts. That was when my family expressed their feeling of loving the gifts I made. Now I do a combo ☺️ or they come to my house can choose 🙂. I love your blog and of course the homemade gifts! Smiles, alice Ps be sure and thank your family for the joy we get from them. ❤️

  30. Image for Marlene Marlene

    That is so sweet and reminded me of my Jeff, who used to do things like that but is now in heaven. You are so blessed and I know you know that. Thanks for my memory.

  31. Image for Michele Ring Michele Ring

    That post made me cry, but in a good way! First I cried over the thoughtfulness of your husband then at the thoughtfulness of your son!

  32. Image for Colleen Colleen! that was so special and such a wonderful gift from your son. A keepsake forever! And , let me also mention what a beautiful voice your husband has too…I even got a little emotional listening to Thanks so much for sharing that!


    KariAnne, this gift is just precious! This is such a wonderful post -- loved it so much! Thanks for sharing your heart and your family with us! What a wonderful husband, son -- and the rest of your family -- you have! You are all so blessed to have one another!

  34. Image for Wanda Wanda

    My heart gushes for the many things my young adult son and daughter do that I recognize as lessons they caught not necessarily things I taught. Kari the more I read and moved along in your post I thought I knew what you were going to share about the playlist gift and I STILL CRIED! Those loving gestures from our kids are the things to remember on the tough days so our hearts pause and our faces beam with gratitude ❤️ Thx for sharing❣️

  35. Image for PJ PJ

    Oh my, what a lovely story! I remember missing a connecting flight and finding out that I would be stuck in Chicago overnight when all I wanted to do is get home. Then my phone rang, and it was my dear husband who had been following my flight progress and knew I was stuck before I did. I was so thrilled to hear his voice at that moment. And yes, he does sing to me. I have a recording of him singing "I'll Be with You in Apple Blossom Time" that I will always treasure.

  36. Image for Pam Pam

    What a wonderful thoughtful present your son gave to you. Love how intentional your family has been and now seeing the rewards in this next generation.

  37. Image for Margaret Wood Margaret Wood

    A perfect gift! You'll have this forever to enjoy your husband's singing, and remember your loved ones' thoughtfulness. KariAnne, it's true that it's often the smallest gestures which mean the most.

  38. Image for Michele M. Michele M.

    Oh my glory, that is the sweetest thing I've heard of, KA! Just beyond wow. I FEEL that love in your words. What an amazing family you have. God has blessed you all. ♥♥♥♥♥♥

  39. Image for Mary Woeppel Mary Woeppel

    KariAnne that is such a beautiful gift💕💕. You are a wonderful person inside and out. I have followed your stories for years and one of your greatest fans. I love how you share your talent with us, you are truly a gift. 💕💕💕

  40. Image for Debbie Debbie

    How wonderful this is! You are so very lucky to have such a wonderful family! This is the best gift. Sooo glad you shared this.

  41. Image for Vicki Vicki

    What a sweet, special gift from your son! That is amazing and, of course, made me cry again. Thank you for sharing. Love to you and your family!

  42. Image for Juliet Juliet

    KariAnne - this story is so loverly it made my eyes well up! Your family is so precious. Thank you for sharing your joy with all of us. Stay warm & safe during the cold snap! We have double digits below zero here. Sending hugs to you, sweet friend!

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