On Friday, my friend brought over a bucket of heart rocks.

Just nature’s way of saying I love you.

I washed them and cleaned them and sang to them and thought up clever heart sayings and made the coolest, easiest Valentine’s Day present from them that I’ll share with you on Thursday.

Maybe it was the hidden I love you in every stone.

Maybe it was the entire rock heart collection.

Maybe it was February knocking at my door.

But it reminded me of a story.

One I’ve shared before, but I wanted to share it again…

….with a little twist from the heart.

When we renewed our vows, I stood in front of God and everyone in a tiny chapel with beautiful stained glass windows next to a big bouquet of hydrangea and evergreens and glittered twigs and stared up into a pair of twinkling brown eyes….

…and told my husband I loved him all over again.

It was all so similar.

It was the same church.

The same minister.

The same time.

The same date.

The same twinkling eyes smiling at me when I walked down the aisle.

The same feeling like I was the luckiest girl in the world.

All so very amazingly, wonderfully the same…

….except for one very different thing.

You see, all those years ago, I stood not-so-patiently behind the double doors of the church waiting for them to open.

Waiting for the walk down the aisle.

Waiting with breathless anticipation for the next exciting chapter in my life to begin.

And as I stood there on the precipice at the corner of “I can’t wait” and “I’m not sure about this”….

….I held tightly to the arm of the most wonderful man in the world.

My dad.

He had been there through everything.  All those growing up years.  All the times I wrecked the car or was late for my curfew or rolled my eyes or sighed or cut super awkward bangs in my hair or told him I wanted to work at Dairy Queen for the rest of my life.

Every step of the way.

Every high…every low.

Every time I climbed higher, he celebrated.  Every time I stumbled he was there to pick me up.  And on that long ago day in front of the church doors with just my father and I standing there, those twinkling blue eyes of his smiled down at me once again….as if to say….

….you got this girl.

I know I’ve said this dozens of times, but I wish you could have met him.


I wish you could have met that incredible father of mine.  He would have walked up to you across a crowed room wearing a hat kind of oddly tilted to one side with his shirt collar askew and his glasses perched on top of his shiny bald head and smiled.  He would have asked you all about yourself and listened to your answers and made you laugh out loud…

…and with that laugh, you would feel like you were the most important person in the room.

He passed away almost nine years ago…

…and I still miss him every single day.

When my friend brought these rocks to me, she smiled sheepishly and said she wasn’t sure why…but she just felt like she should share her rock heart collection to me.  As I opened up the lid and stared down at natures I love you, my heart skipped a beat.

You see…my father was a geologist.

He loved rocks.

Many was the time he would pull off to the side of the road and point out a sedimentary formation or the limestone or shale or layer upon layer of metamorphic rock.  Staring at those rocks, the tears welled up and spilled over the edge of my lashes.

I saw my father’s twinkling blue eyes.  I heard his laugh and I celebrated the hope and joy and love….

….in every line of those tiny rock hearts.

PS  The story doesn’t end there.

It never does.

This weekend I gave the twins my old camera.  This picture was taken by one of the twins of her sister photographing the outdoors at sunset.

A golden captured moment of joy and celebration of nature lives on in the next generation.

I know my father is smiling. 🙂

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  1. Image for Beverly Beverly

    I so remember that sad time almost nine years ago. You have made me feel like I did know your father. And, I do know about being a girl that adores her daddy. My daddy died almost thirty-seven years ago, and my heart longs for his confidence in me. I had some heart rocks that I shared with a dear friend that I felt needed them. Maybe your father is ensuring a supply for all.

  2. Image for Lisa Lisa

    I never had the pleasure of meeting you father. I do remember the announcement in church when he passed away. Clearly, he was loved by many and left a wonderful legacy behind. XOXO Lisa

  3. Image for Donna Gerardi Donna Gerardi

    Kari Anne, This beautiful story of love brought tears to my eyes at every turn of the tale. Thank you once again for sharing your wonderful life snippets with us.

  4. Image for Marjorie Smith Marjorie Smith

    Thanks for sharing your memories. My father passed away 25 years ago but so many things bring me joy when I think of him. The twins did a great photography job. Beautiful photo!

  5. Image for Loryl Loryl

    I cried as I read this as my Dad too had twinkling blue eyes. He died much too young over 30 years ago but I see him in my son. The smile, the ease around people, the swagger in his walk, the good friend. I have a special picture from Glass Beach in Cali that has a glass heart among the other pieces of beach glass. It was taken on my last vacation with my bestie from college before she passed. I think God sends us these nature hearts to let us know "We are Loved".

  6. Image for june june

    Karianne...I just want to crawl through my ipad and hug you. Your stories warm my heart every time. i miss my dad too. He passed when i was 30...34 years ago. We shared something special...I was born on his birthday. As a child he would wake me to wish me happy birthday at 12:31am the time I was born. As an adult I would call him...even when I was out with friends so we connected at that special time. Thank God for memories.

  7. Image for Debbie Debbie

    I know what you mean, my Dad has been gone for over 20 years and Mom 3 1/2. It just doesn't seem possible. I still miss them every day. I know they are happy and together now, but my heart still aches to see them and talk to them. Love ya, friend. PS The photo is wonderful!

  8. Image for lisa lisa

    Good Morning! This is truly a special post today! My dad has also passed, almost 16 years soon. I can still hear his voice, his wisdom, love & those big ole soothing hugs and encouraging words in my mind. I also collect heart rocks! I nearly fell over when I opened your post today. Perhaps, this is a sign from above..to remind us that LOVE Never Ends <3..Love & light ~ leelee

  9. Image for Christie Long Christie Long

    It is always such a pleasure to read your postings. Being a Romantic you bring to your followers such insight and tenderness to the ordinary moments we all experience. You always put a positive light in my life. Thank you! Christie

  10. Image for Sharon H Sharon H

    Another beautiful love story, Miz karianne. I know I've said it before, but your Dad gave you some of the best things in life....memories. Awesome, life-teaching, memories. As well as how to be a good parent yourself! How blessed you were, and still are. Happy Day, friend!

  11. Image for Ellen Ellen

    Sadly, I too know about losing that precious part of your heart. I lost my Dad when I was in the hospital delivering my Son. Every single year I think about my Son being another year older at the same time remembering that my Dad is gone that same amount of years. That is almost 47 years ago now and still causes both smiles and tears. Your Dad stories always remind me of my own Dad, I love them! What a thoughtful gift from your friend and I'm anticipating the reveal of what you have done with the heart rocks. Thank-you for another beautiful story by my favorite storyteller! P.S. A lovely picture by one of the Twinthistles.

  12. Image for Moriah Moriah

    Thank you for this heart-touching post. Tears of joy and sorrow are streaming down my face. Ya see, my wonderful dad passed away nearly nine years ago, too. And as I am helping my daughter plan her wedding in May, I miss him even more. He would be so very proud of the wonderful young soman she's become. She is, after all, the one child of mine who pushed him to his limits when she was 4-5 y/o. ? And he would be in the front row crying at her wedding and asking her to dance with him to a good ole country song at her reception. But what joy it is to know our Heavenly Father knows how to give us good gifts, perfect gifts, gifts at just the right moment so that we know we are loved. And we can cherish our beautiful memories in our hearts. ❤️

  13. Image for Debbie Esparza Debbie Esparza

    Your dad is so proud of you. What a wonderful man he was, I am sure. You and your family are blessed beyond measure.

  14. Image for Michelle Michelle

    Your story reminded me of when my dad would take me to the mountains and point out all the different layers in the rocks and explain to me what they were. What was most precious to me, then and now, was spending time with him. Dads are very special people and I know yours is no exception. I miss my dad too. Enjoy your day, Karianne, and a big hug that sweet friend of yours who shared her heart rocks collection that triggered all those happy moments!

  15. Image for Stephanie Ray Brown Stephanie Ray Brown

    Oh this ️so warmed and touched my heart! I may have to start collecting heart rocks too!❤️ Never heard of them but love hearts and nature's treasures. Reminders of our Father's love. I was not blessed to have such a dad as yours( so blessed you were but know hole in heart forever) but always know God was there to comfort, guide, and love me through life. Not having a great dad did make me search for a great guy who would be a fantastic father to my future children. He has those brown twinkling eyes too!❤️ Bless you for sharing your heart always and listening to my heart thoughts too.

  16. Image for Leslie Leslie

    I love this. Gentle reminders to remind you that you are still loved by your Father...both earthly and heavenly. P.S. I love the sunset photo...breathtaking.

  17. Image for Carrie Carrie

    Your Dad is in every story and every memory. Thank you for sharing. Your twins will continue the tradition of great stories to be retold, with some beautiful pictures along the way cementing the memories. Hugs.

  18. Image for Claudia A. Claudia A.

    Awww those Girlies! I miss my Dad every day I am reminded of his Tedisms...he's been gone so long I'd just love to hear him again. Just listen while he tells his stories of growing up. ❤️❤️❤️

  19. Image for Cindy in Oklahoma Cindy in Oklahoma

    I love this story.... I, too, collect heart rocks...my youngest son gave me one when he was little and then every time we went to the lake he and I would search for them. Then it was just any unusual rock. I even have rocks around my flower beds... each one of them unique (at least in my eyes!) and placed just so. I have 3 smooth round rocks also sitting in the flower bed. They used to symbolize my husband and my two boys, because one is big, the other two much smaller. And then I came across a story with a photo of rocks sitting on the resting place of a Jewish mother... Her daughter explained there were many reasons for the tradition passed down through generations but her reason was because flowers die, rocks are forever..... oh my goodness..... often the rocks are from special places visited or significant in some way to the deceased or the still living.... So now my rocks represent family members who've passed. The two smaller ones represent my father-in-law and my mom and the larger one represents our several sets of grandparents. When my mother was ill she spent a few hours at a local hospice near us. Outside the lawn and flower beds are lined with similar rocks, each one with the name of a loved one etched or painted on top... Ever since seeing them I think I should do that with those three special rocks of mine...I can't decide.... maybe some things are just for the heart. It's not necessary to write the names... the rocks and I know who they represent. Thank you so much for this today. I'm rambling on and on... but there is beauty in everything... lasting beauty... and tenderness... isn't it amazing how something so hard and often imperfect and coarse could bring out such tenderness?

  20. Image for Vickie Macfarlane Vickie Macfarlane

    What a precious thing to share Kari Anne. I sincerely believe in divine things like this. I feel your spirit in your writings. God Bless You sweet lady. Hugs!

  21. Image for jan g jan g

    yesterday was my husband stan's birthday; it was also the 5th anniversary of my father passing... when he was diagnosed he said I'm not sad for where I'm going, but for what i'll miss here (and we miss him here to the moon and back). we said he passed on stan's birthday so we would never forget - because stan was a mini-glen... I had to chuckle because almost 42 years ago we stood outside those doors and Pop said - you don't have to do this you know... ps - I also collect heart rocks <3

  22. Image for Julia Julia

    I said good bye to my Daddy in November (2016). I sure do miss him every day! Thank you for sharing your life with us!

  23. Image for Kris Kris

    Darn it, this story brings tears to my eyes every time. And I miss my daddy, too. But he's healthy and whole again and with Jesus. Waiting for the reunion ...

  24. Image for Crystal Crystal

    Today is my dad's birthday. He died about 3 years ago and I --like many others--miss him ever day. I was always daddy's girl even when I was taking care of him as he was dying from Parkinson's disease. Today I, too, celebrate the gift of a wonderful father.

  25. Image for Pinky Pinky

    I love when you share your Dad with us. could have met him too. My Dad died when I was 4 so I have very little memory of him at all. I felt his loss all my life, always wishing I had a Dad just like all my firnds did. I still wish I did. That was a "God moment" when your friend brought you the rocks. And I know your Dad is smiling down and loving you from where he is. XO

  26. Image for Susan Susan

    What a beautiful story! My dad's been gone almost 43 years. You'll always miss him, but he lives on through the memories.

  27. Image for norma vaughn norma vaughn

    I have always believed that nothing is a coincidence....your father had to be right there...oh, how he loves you! Peace, Norma

  28. Image for Laurie Laurie

    My Dad just passed away unexpectedly 2 days before Christmas. It is still so raw, like road rash on my heart. This made me cry. I miss him so much. I don't think it ever gets easier.

  29. Image for DeMarie Ingraham DeMarie Ingraham

    While I did not have this in my life, I love hearing stories of wonderful daddy/daughter relationships. You describe yours beautifully. Only wish we could have known such a lovely man but you've given us a marvelous glimpse. Memories are bittersweet. May your joy be great in your remembrance and your sorrow be fleeting.

  30. Image for Granny Annie Granny Annie

    You made me cry. I always wanted a dad like that, but even tho I have a few sweet moments to remember, mostly mine are not so sweet. My Dad was not completely "right" and we were abused quite a little at our home. I guess you may say he was Bi-Polar now days. Back then it was just scary not knowing what to expect. Praise the Lord you had a good one...a really sweet and loving father that left you wanting more of him and the wonderful times. I pray that most Dads are more like yours as he sounds so very very special.

  31. Image for Jeanne Jeanne

    This is the sweetest of sweet stories...I know how it is missing your dad...I miss mine too...every day...I especially miss that my girls never had an opportunity to meet him, or for him to meet them. That makes an ache in my heart. Gather those rock hearts and hold them tight. Your dad is with you always...For me and my dad, it's feathers...every time I see a single feather on the ground, I smile and think of my dad.

  32. Image for Ann C Ann C

    I started collecting heart shaped stones fifteen years ago, when I lost my husband. One day walking on the beach of Lake Michigan I hadn't found one. My friends were ready to leave. I quick said a silent prayer that I needed a heart stone. I saw a small almost black stone, picked it up but it was oval shaped. In my disappointment I rolled it over in my hand. And there on the other side was a perfect heart in a beige color. The best day since he passed. I wish I could post a picture to share with you, and all your followers who love them too.

  33. Image for Sue Sue

    Your dad is smiling down from heaven because he knows he instilled a love of nature in you without even trying and the same as you have done with your twin daughters. What could be more beautiful; nature is all around us and you have that part of your dad with you always.

  34. Image for Laura Laura

    I love the way you write. I don't follow you for your DIY projects. I follow you just so I can read how you write about them. This was a beautiful story about your dad. I just lost my dad before Christmas. It made my heart hurt a little when I read this because I'm missing him. But it was beautiful, nonetheless. Your writing inspires me to write again, too. Thanks.

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