Note card Song

I woke up early this morning after getting in from Alabama at dark thirty and clutched the cup of coffee that someone was waving under my nose….

….and thought of all of  you.

I feel like I’ve lived a lifetime in the last three days.

Kind of like a contestant on The Amazing Race where they visit four countries and have to ride in a wheelbarrow while stacking peppers and learn a dance and repeat it three times wearing clogs and construct an entire rowboat and then sail it across the river and eat a plate full of delicacies in under four minutes.

Just like that.

Except I ate alligator.

And it tasted just like chicken.

I toured Lucy’s house (and I have pictures).  I worked on a show house and helped build a kitchen island and make chalkboards out of transoms and planned out the design of three rooms.  I had dinner with Ashley and I of course I have stories.

And I can’t wait to share it all with you next week.

But for today my coffee and I are going to rest and watch a Fixer Upper Marathon and share with you one of my favorite stories I’ve ever written.

I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.


I was named after a song.

A song my mother heard when she was pregnant with me.

Maybe it was the accents of the singers.

Maybe it was the tale of sailors and sailing away and all that anguished love and waiting on the shore that pulled her in.

Maybe it was all the spaghetti she craved.

But my name and my journey started with Norwegian movie spectacular, “Windjammer”……

…..and a little song called, “Kari Waits For Me.”


On the off-chance that you’re not familiar with the movie Windjammer and that world-famous song…..the lyrics go a little like this:


Kari waits for me at home

Oh Kari waits for me

I see her standing  there beside the restless sea.

Kari waits for me at home

‘tho I must sail the sea.

I’m a sailor born to roam while Kari waits for me.


Blow ye trade winds fill the sails

Oh blow ye trade winds blow.

Blow thro’ those stormy gales

As homeward we will go.

Homeward to the snow-capped mountains 

Rising from the sea

Homeward to the land I love

Where Kari waits for me.

book paper flowers

My father sang “Kari Waits For Me” me my entire life.

I would perch at his feet and he would pull out his guitar and softly strum the words.

And in a lilting voice he would sing my song.

He would sing about Kari and her sailor and far-off lands and the ever-blowing trade winds.

It was my favorite song in the whole world.

Ever….in the history of ever.

Dining Room Spirng

When I got married I stood in the reception hall in a beautiful white dress with overly beaded shoes and plenty of red lipstick…..listening to my father sing “Kari Waits For Me.”

He played his guitar and sang the song he had sung to me my entire life.

Our song.

And when he reached the second verse….all of a sudden….there was harmony.

Another voice joined in.

There was my new husband…..playing his guitar with his brown eyes sparkling and twinkling.

Singing my song.

Together my husband and my father sang and sang and sang to me.

And I stood there as the tears ran down my face.

Note card display

And then my father stopped singing and played a just few more notes…..before quietly fading off the stage.

Leaving only my husband…..singing my song.

The song from my father.

The song of my childhood.


The torch had been passed.

“Kari Waits For Me” started a new chapter.

A new life.

A new beginning.

Note card Song

A couple Christmases ago, my brother found the notes to that song.

And he framed them and gave them to me.

Those precious, wonderful, incredible words of “Kari Waits For Me.”

The notes to the song……written by my father on that long-ago night.

When a father…..who loved a daughter…..guided her to a new chapter in her life.

And sang her his heart.

PS  Remember when that dining room hutch was gray?

PPS  Someone just reminded me I posted a YouTube video of my husband singing the song last year.

And here it is.  It’s a little rough at the beginning #notsurehowtoworkthephone)…..but it gets better. 🙂

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  1. Image for Marisa Franca @ All Our Way Marisa Franca @ All Our Way

    I'm sorry I don't remember any of the pictures -- I was too busy reading the story and crying. Let me wipe the tears from my eyes and go back and look at the pictures. I'm not crying for sad -- I'm crying for happy. You see, today is my birthday and it started out great and went down hill fast. You've changed it for the better. I'm a dreamer - like you- and I love happy endings and knights in shining armor and good wins over evil. So, I'm glad you're back home safely, sipping your coffee and home with your Thistles. Now, you'll have to excuse me but I have some beautiful photos to look at. Big hugs and have a great Labor Day Weekend.

  2. Image for Nancy @ Slightly Coastal Nancy @ Slightly Coastal

    Oh my goodness. It is so unfair to make me cry so early in the morning...before I've finished the pot of coffee. What a special story. What special people. What tender hearts. What a way to be loved. Lucky in love is such a good thing. Bless you, KariAnne.

  3. Image for Barbara Barbara

    Beeeeeautiful story! Hope you had a kleenex standing there in your wedding dress:) I would have been a mess!!

  4. Image for Leona Leona

    So who could drink their coffee after reading this Tearjerker of a post??? Sob , sob , sob...nose blow. I am sure if I were at your wedding you would hear me bawling my eyes out. Sentimental me, because I too believe in happily ever after and knights in shining armor, and .......and you had 2 that day. You are blessed.

  5. Image for FrenchGardenHouse FrenchGardenHouse

    Kari, that's the way to start my day with tears running down my face. I love this, no wonder this is your favorite post ever. Oh. My. Sweet Kari, what a beautiful story of love. What a special father and husband you have ( and brother too! ) you are truly blessed. Xo Lidy

  6. Image for Alice Alice

    People's inanate thoughtfulness always make me pause and be grateful that I got a glimpse of something so special, doesn't have to be about me, I am touched by the reflected glow of a moment of kindness/love. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Image for Nancy Nimmo Nancy Nimmo

      Bravo!!!, well said, in fact perfectly said. Lovely expression of kindness. We all supposedly "know" what beauty looks like. This is proof too that we know what heart stopping kind tenderness is too.

  7. Image for Yvonne Yvonne

    Who could see the hutch through tears? Loved the story all over again. Can't wait to hear about your latest adventures. Happy Labor Day!

  8. Image for sydney85 sydney85

    Talk about giving me goosebumps this morning. Love your story. You are blessed to have wonderful men in your life.

  9. Image for gail gail

    beautiful story-the love of a good man, be it a father or a husband is all that a woman longs for. You're blessed to have both. gail

  10. Image for Michelle B Michelle B

    What a beautiful way to start your marriage! I so enjoy your blog. You always bring a smile to my face with your lovely, quirky take on things. And you have an absolutely beautiful home :)

  11. Image for Leslie Leslie

    Love! Unbelievable way to give your daughter away...precious, treasured memories! Welcome home, sweet friend!!

  12. Image for Alice Hanson Alice Hanson

    KariAnne, That was the best I mean the bestest sweetest wonderful story! You are just swellest! Smiles through tears, Alice

  13. Image for Mari Mari

    How beautiful. And your gift of writing .... I felt like I was at the wedding! And what, may I ask, is in the bowls on the table?

  14. Image for Design Chic Design Chic

    That is the dearest ever….love the story and the sentiment. I could just visualize it all as I read the post, red lipstick and all!! Can hardly wait to hear about your whirlwind trip…sounds amazing! Enjoy the weekend ~

  15. Image for Terri Terri

    ummmmmm.... soooo wrong to tear up like this at work and have to go hunting tissues ... :) ... that is beautiful!!!!! So Precious!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! .... Now: is there room on your couch and more coffee in the pot??? My fav TV watching... "Chip and JoJo"..... so excited for the new season which is coming up really soon!!!... "Silos" have gotten alllll dolled up!!!!! yaaaaaaaa....

  16. Image for Johanne Lamarche Johanne Lamarche

    Such a moving story. I loved how your dad used the song to transition you into your married life. Very special.

  17. Image for NormaJean NormaJean

    One of my favorites of "your" stories! I never tire of reading it again. Can't wait to hear all about the Show House and see your incredible photos of it. Enjoy your day of rest, you've earned it.

  18. Image for Rowena Philbeck Rowena Philbeck

    Kari, That is such a wonderful story. How cool is that.. I was just named after my Aunt Rowena in Chicago as my mother really liked her. My middle name was named after my dad's mother. I don't use it as its very old fashioned and as a child I really got picked at about it. Its "Fannie". So I use my maiden name as my middle name "Harris". Yours is a much better story and your wedding must have been awesome with them singing it. VERY COOL!! Now I have to go back and check out your other links of your remodel.

  19. Image for Carol Carol

    It was all beautiful and sometimes we need good tears. On the 11 we will have our 60th anniversary. The children have something planned, but I don't know what. Some friends and I are doing hospitality at church on Sept 27 and all who attend church that day will come and have cake, meat and cheese and fruit and won't have to come back later in the afternoon and I can go home and take a nap. Have a blessed day, Carol

  20. Image for Peg Peg

    I think you were your father's Norwegian princess, and it warms my heart to know that you found a set of twinkling eyes that cherish you just as much! : )

  21. Image for Patricia Patricia

    That is the most precious story I have ever read. Brought sweet tears. Thank you so much for sharing this. Question: Where did you get those beautiful bowls and what is in them? Love those!! Thank you again. Have a Wonderful Labor Day Weekend Karianne!!

  22. Image for Michelle Rudis Michelle Rudis

    What a sweet, sweet story and precious memory! From the bottom of my heart, thank you so much for sharing your heart with us, karianne.

  23. Image for DebZorn DebZorn

    A while agao - like a year, maybe two (!), you posted a video of your humband singing this song. I thought is was the sweetest thing. Now it's even sweeter. What a wonderful story. Thanks for sharing.

  24. Image for Debbie from MountainMamaOnline Debbie from MountainMamaOnline

    And now I'm sitting at my desk crying like a baby with the mascara running into my eyes and under my contacts and I'm going to look like a bug-eyed freak for the rest of the day..... ....and it was worth it to read that beautiful and amazing story. Thank you for sharing that. xo

  25. Image for Regena Fickes. Regena Fickes.

    This story and others like it is why I started following your blog. I really need a good laugh and/or cry each day. I love this story. Thank you.

  26. Image for Donnamae Donnamae

    What a beautiful story! Now, I have to go back and look at the hutch....I was so taken with the story....I never looked at your pics! ;)

  27. Image for Kristan Kristan

    What a lovely story......brought back memories for my sister, Karen and me....we lived in Oslo, Norway from 1956-1959 (I was 9-12, my sister 6-9) while our Dad was stationed with NATO (both of his parents were born in Norway and came to the US as children). The movie Windjammer, The Voyage of the Christian Radich was released in 1958 and our parents took us to see it.......glorious travelogue and wonderful soundtrack. I forwarded your last post to my sister....and she called me singing Kari Waits for Me! So today when I read your post again I sang right along with you! Love your blog, love your stories and especially love the way you write and see the world.

  28. Image for Glitter and Lillies Glitter and Lillies

    What an absolutely beautiful story. How blessed you are to be so cherished and loved, and thank you for sharing and making so many of us cry and smile today.

  29. Image for Lanita Lanita

    What a beautiful story!! Thank you for sharing it with us....what a blessing to be loved and sung to by your father and then your husband!! Blessings to you, friend! Lanita

  30. Image for Betty Baker Betty Baker

    Oh my Kari - I just had a cataract removed and I had to hold that eye shut while tears ran from the good eye. Your relationship with your father sounds as great as mine was, although he did not sing but he knew how tell his daughter (me) that he loved me. Isn't it wonderful to have so many cherished memories. Your husband is a sweetie and sings it well. Have a very wonderful weekend with your beautiful family. Love Betty from, Ontario Canada.

  31. Image for Mindy Whipple Mindy Whipple

    Your Dad singing at your wedding - the special song he always sang, so beautiful. But passing it on to your husband well, you had me teary. Such a precious thing your Dad did. (PS: Loved your giggles throughout the video and your I love you to your man at the end). Smiling here...

  32. Image for Lisa Mothersead Lisa Mothersead

    Oh, my gosh. One of the sweetest stories I've ever heard. Your dad loved you so much, sharing that song. Lucky husband!

  33. Image for Donnie Donnie

    Oh Kari, I was so hoping it would be Esther's home you were working on. Can't wait to see what all the talent gathered in Alabama has created! I was named after my mother's nickname - not sure how her German grandfather got Donnie out of Darlene, but I am proud to wear the name. Rest up, we need details of what you have been up to!!

  34. Image for Rachel Rachel

    I'm not very romantic or sentimental though I do love some tradition and wistful things. But this story made me absolutely swoon. It's lovely. Thank you for sharing with us :) P.S. I MUST know about those centerpiece bowl thingermabobs (I've had a cold for over a week, I need some slack with words!!) and are they flowers made from pages? Is there a tutorial?!

  35. Image for Dale D. Dale D.

    This story speaks volumes of why you have ability to share your thoughts and feelings with such a open heart. You were surrounded by pretty amazing parents and looks like your husband is a keeper too. Watched the video of your husband singing and loved your giggle in the background..too sweet. Every bride hopes their wedding day will be special and memorable, when you can remember the beating of your heart, looks of promise, glances of love in the midst of your most beloved friends and family. Your Dad trusting your husband with his beloved treasure, his daughter who sat at his knee as he sang your song too many times to count. Dreamy and magical...

  36. Image for Lynn in Florida Lynn in Florida

    Karianne- You are blessed beyond measure; to have had a father who loved you so much, and a husband who adores you (and has twinkling brown eyes to boot!). And now you have your own little ones to impart all that love to. Generation after generation, family is the most precious gift our Heavenly Father bestows upon us. And you are also blessed with a beautiful, sweet spirit, and an innate gift of seeing the world through a filter of gratitude, optimism, and abundant love. Plus, you share and impart your beautiful spirit to everyone whose life you touch. Thank you once again for the smiles, the tears, and the joy you share with your readers. You are an enormous blessing to us! With love

  37. Image for Torrie Torrie

    What a beautiful story--it gave me the chills. Those are the kinds of moments and memories and traditions we all hops to have in our life, both to have passed to us and to pass on to someone else. Thank you so much for sharing this.

  38. Image for Sharon H Sharon H

    Loved it the first time I saw it, and love it today! He is so darned cute. Those brown eyes really do sparkle, don't they? How could you NOT help to fall in love with such a dear soul. I miss your Dad....and I never even met him. What great role models you had. And what great role models the two of you are to your children. Sigh.....I think you really are Cinderella!

  39. Image for Nan, Odessa, DE Nan, Odessa, DE

    Thanks for sharing this story! Your husband is great and I hope you capture this some way that it is preserved. Some day it will have even MORE meaning!

  40. Image for Mary Mary

    Oh you lovely lady... got tears running down my face. I wish I had a handsome man who would sing a song for me but not knowing you personally, I am so glad you have such a wonderful life and a such a loving man to sing to you. This was your best post ever KariAnne!!! YOU ARE BLESSED and the best thing is you share that with everyone you know (and some you haven't ever met)! Thanks so much for such a lovely story KariAnne.... :) M

  41. Image for Debbie Esparza Debbie Esparza

    Oh my goodness! Absolutely loved your husband singing to you. You are a lucky lady to have a man who loves and cherishes you so.

  42. Image for Lynnette Martin Lynnette Martin

    Sweet & Priceless story! You are a very lucky gal & we love finding them in our 'In Box'. Well, I've wanted new furniture for a while now & found the most super buys today. Trucked it home, old is in the garage & I'm spreading my creative little flair to make a new vibe! Now for the new paint decision. Happy Labor Day, enjoy family & friends. Life is Good!

  43. Image for Shannon Fulkerson Shannon Fulkerson

    Oh, what a lovely story! To be so loved... you are blessed. thank you for sharing your beautiful story.

  44. Image for Jillynn Jillynn

    I can't wait to hear about your week!!! Sounds like a blast!!!! I am sitting here with my cup of coffee.. having just finished my FRONT DOOR REVEAL (I thought you might like to see that one because... shoot me now... I am in LOVE) blog post AND my Fall Décor blog post and.... I am ready for bed!!! It's 10:36 am... And I didn't decorate someone else's house... and fly all over the country... and... Do all the things you did... HOW DO YOU DO IT!?!?!?! Jillynn

  45. Image for Nancy Nancy

    I remember Windjammer. I think it was the first movie I saw in cineramma. So now I guess I also realize I am old enough to be your mother!! I've figured that out about several bloggers. But that's fine. I enjoy reading about your projects, but if it's something I can't do I just say "oh well, that's something for a young person." HeeHee

  46. Image for Vicki Vicki

    Dear Amazing Kari, Wow! Just wow! While the story is remarkable and one to be considered for a movie, your writing style is exceptional and such an inspiration to me as a writer! I've enjoyed browsing your blog and reading your stories. The photographs are exquisite, so real, like I'm there in person smelling and hearing and feeling along with you and your sweet family. Thanks for sharing so much of your life, your heart. We met at Haven last year. I'm a life long friend of Rhoda's. Blessings to you and I look forward to more stories. Your daughters are absolutely precious and look so much like their sweet mama! Vicki

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