Raise your hand if you have a name that you have been explaining since kindergarten.

Oh, good.

Please come sit next to me.

I understand.

I get.

My name is extra challenging. I get e-mails all the time asking me how to say it and how to pronounce it and how to spell it and if there is a capital letter in the middle.

You can thank my mother. She fell in love with my father and all things scandinavian and heard a name that was full of romance. And then? There was no turning back.



All eight beautiful, wonderful letters.

I owe them all to a Norwegian movie spectacular called “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…

…you can see the lyrics here.

Suffice it to say that the song is all about Kari waiting for a sailor beside a restless sea.

She’s waiting and he’s sailing.

He’s off on the sea visiting foreign lands with the tradewinds taking him all over the globe.  And all the while he’s having the adventure of a lifetime?

Kari is waiting.

(total aside: I can’t decide if Kari is inspiring or pitiful—but that is a discussion for another day.)

My mother named me after “Kari Waits For Me” and my father sang it to me my entire life. I would perch at his feet as he would pull out his guitar, softly strumming 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.

If I close my eyes now, I can still hear his voice.

It was my favorite song in the whole world.

Ever….in the history of ever.

On my wedding day, my father walked me down the aisle in my grandmother’s wedding dress and handed me off amidst tears and hugs to the arms of a twinkling brown-eyed sailor.

I know.

The irony isn’t lost on me either.

After the wedding, my father surprised me at the reception.

He walked out strumming his guitar singing“Kari Waits For Me.” Softly. Sweetly. The words of that song drifted out across the darkened room. My eyes welled up as I listened to the song he had sung to me my entire life.

Our song.

And when he reached the second verse…

…suddenly there was harmony.

Another voice joined the song.

It was my husband. Out of the darkness, he walked toward my father with his guitar over his shoulder.

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.

Suddenly, my father stopped singing, played a just few more notes and quietly faded off the stage.

Leaving only my husband standing alone…

..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.

A new story.

Note card Song

Several years ago after my father passed away, we found these hand-written note cards filled with the precious, wonderful, incredible words of “Kari Waits For Me.”

It was the words and chords to the song written by my father on that long-ago night.


Written down for the next generation–left behind to tell the tale of a father who loved a daughter.

A father who loved her enough to let her go.

A father who loved her enough to equip her for the journey.

A father who loved her enough to show her how special she was in the best way he knew how.

And a father who guided her to a brand new chapter in her life…

…by singing his heart.

If you ever wondered if I was ready?

Just look at that face.

Hello world.

I’m ready to meet you. 🙂

PS  You say my name like the word “car” with a long “e.”  And in awkward name news there is a capital “A” in the middle.

Again, you can thank my mother.

PSS There’s nothing better than a story and a spring project. You can see how I made this spring wreath with eucalyptus here.

Want to know how to decorate your home for free?
Click here to get my FIVE BEST secrets.


  1. Image for Elaine Elaine

    That is priceless!!! Thanks for sharing your heart and life with us!! My daughter is Brandi as in “Brandi, you’re a fine girl. What a good wife you would be, but my life, my love and my lady is the sea.” Similar to your song and its quandry 😃

  2. Image for Betty in Arlington Betty in Arlington

    Karianne, i am recovering from the Covid-19, thanks for the note! Make sure you put your country of origin/ethnic background on the Census form!

  3. Image for Leslie Watkins Leslie Watkins

    I LOVE every part of this story...the song...the wedding dress and its meaning...the reception(!!!!!!)...and now where do you have those precious cards tucked???? I feel like I am in the middle of a good Netflix series with the end of the episode cliffhanger! Are they tucked away in a safe hidden place we all have? Or are they framed perfectly for sharing that sweet story? The world is waiting to hear your response....🤗

  4. Image for Regina Merrick Regina Merrick

    Okay, that’s twice already that I’ve wanted to cry this morning! First was a pic of my dad and my uncle 2 years ago, and now your beautiful wedding story!! So, so beautiful and sigh-worthy.

  5. Image for Jeanne M. Csoke Jeanne M. Csoke

    Such a sweet story!! Thank you so much for sharing and giving me a wonderful distraction from all that is going on right now. (My name seems to baffle everyone too!! It's pronounced "Genie" but for some reason, I'm constantly called GeeAnn. Is that even a name??) : )

  6. Image for Sandi from the Cape Sandi from the Cape

    I bet you had everyone of us tearing up! What a darling wedding photo! Thanks for sharing this and the love of a father and daughter. Happy memories!

  7. Image for Janette Janette

    I think I love the personal little stories you tell, this is so beautiful and I sit here crying at the thought of your beloved father doing this for a most precious daughter, what a wonderful memory. BTW your wedding photo speaks volumes. Thanks for sharing. Stay safe.xx

  8. Image for Alice Genzlinger Alice Genzlinger

    LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE. There is no other explanation . Tears are running down my face from the sheer beauty of this post. From the heart in a time when we need it the most.. I leave you with love from the One that loves us the most; Psalms 91.

  9. Image for Diane Diane

    Soooo touching! And written with such love! The love between a father and his daughter -- how did you know I needed this TODAY? Yes today, the very day that marks missing my dad for 20 years!!!! THANK you! (and I wore my mother;s dress that was soooo very, very similar to yours)

  10. Image for Kathy Menold Kathy Menold

    Your writing is so brilliant and descriptive that I feel like I am sitting with you listening to this beautiful story.. It brought tears but also smiles. My Mother was Swedish and I always feel a connection to all of Scandinavia. My sweet husband gave me trip to there as a graduation present when I finished nursing school many years ago. So wonderful.Enjoy these days with your family even in these strange times. Love is the most important thing. God Bless You Karianne.

  11. Image for Ellen Ellen

    In the years that I have followed your marvelous blog I have read this story on older posts. I will never tire of reading your heartwarming life story. Long ago, I came across some words on a blog written by a preschool teacher who, amongst other things, shares about telling her true life stories to her students. One time she wrote these words with a "Jennie" story : "Stories are the keepers of words and memories". I loved that and asked for permission to quote her words which she graciously granted and I have often done so. Your story is one of those keepers and it must give you great joy to know that your children and your children's children will continue to tell this sweet story. I love the photos, especially the one of the beaming beautiful Bride!! Thank-you!

  12. Image for Debbie Debbie

    Through blurred vision I write to tell you just how beautiful this story is to me. How precious and lovely is this memory of love and endearment. Thank you for sharing.

  13. Image for Julianna Julianna

    What a beautiful memory and I love that you have a beautiful song to go along with your lovely name. By the way, I too, have a name given to me in honor of the Queen of the Netherlands, Julianna. My parents named me because though I am 5th generation American, I am still 100 percent Dutch :)

  14. Image for Linda C Johnston Linda C Johnston

    OMGoodness. This story will stay with me forever. I wish my father had loved me like that. No. I am not exaggerating. You are the most blessed woman I know. The fantastic life stories never stop and I take away so much from each one. Thank you.

  15. Image for Mary Mary

    You are such a wonderful story teller! I have never written to a blog before but you touched me so much. Thank you.

  16. Image for Linda Miller Linda Miller

    I literally just had chills reading this. What a wonderful memory and blessing to have experienced this. Two pretty great men in your life, and I have a hunch there are more living under your roof. Happy day friend. Stay well!

  17. Image for Mary Mary

    Love your story today! You are so lucky to have had a wonderful father and happy memories about your life with him. Not all of us had that, but I love that you appreciate what you had with him. Please everyone stay isolated. My husband and I are recovering from this horrible virus and it’s no joke!! Stay safe!!

  18. Image for Patricia Patricia

    Karianne...what a beautiful name and a beautiful person. You are so very Blessed to have found such “priceless” notes from your Father. To pass on, I am sure. Your wedding day sounds like a fairytale.....you definitely are “your Father’s Daughter” (both) 🙂. Thank you for sharing such a wonderful memory that has brightened my day and just made me “love you more”, my Friend. Blessings to you and yours. 💕🙏

  19. Image for Carol Carol

    You are killing me girl! I can't believe how many fairy tale stories of your life but sure am glad you are willing to share them. Thank you, Carol

  20. Image for Joanne Joanne

    Good Morning, you did it again. Totally in love with this story, and as another reader stated, a true "Hallmark" moment. It brought me to tears, and at the same time put a huge smile on my face, and a wonderful feeling in my heart. I was envisioning walking down the aisle with my Dad, and all those feelings of that day rushed in. BTW...my name is Joanne, but it wasn't supposed to be. It started out as Josephine Ann after my Mother's sister, who she lost at a very young age, then the hospital changed it to Jo Ann, and finally the church had their input changing it to Jo Anne. Since then it has become what it is today. Talk about confusing. Again, thank you for bringing some well needed sunshine to my day with this lovely distraction, and for always sharing these special moments of your life.


    Oh my goodness...as I wipe the tears from my face...what a beautiful story. You have a very special memory and obviously a very special father and husband. Thank you for sharing and yes it does sound like a Hallmark Movie-KariAnne!

  22. Image for Debbie Debbie

    Wow love your story. Last fall my husband of 44 years and I went to Scotland and Ireland. On one of our last evenings in Ireland we were in a pub listening to a man singing to the patrons. He sang a song called The Voyage which spoke to both of our hearts. We have a lake house and love boating so this song has a special meaning to us. Please take time to look up and listen to this song you can find it on Youtube. I think it will have a real meaning to you and your brown eyed sailor.

  23. Image for Roberta Gustafsson Roberta Gustafsson

    KariAnne, I loved your story, brought tears to my eyes! Your posts always brighten my day! Thank you!❤️

  24. Image for Theresa Boedeker Theresa Boedeker

    KarriAnne. Loved your story. My sister Bliss (yes no one gets that name right. "Liz? Sis?") and I were lying atop our beds one hot summer day and talking about the future. Bliss says, "I want to marry someone with a simple name like Smith, Johnson, Nelson. I get so tired of no one knowing how to spell our last name, Boedeker." Well, that got me thinking, so I said, "I like having a difficult last name. I want to marry someone with a difficult last name I have to spell every time." Years passed and of course the last name granting ferries messed up our orders. She married a Tischer, which she always had to spell. And I married a Nelson. Which you would think you would not have to spell, but so many people have asked me to spell my last name that now I just spell it automatically.

  25. Image for Lynn W Lynn W

    Dad’s are the best 💜 love your special story and song!! In my head I was saying your name wrong, but now I’ve got it right!!

  26. Image for Patricia Budai Patricia Budai

    Oh, KariAnne, I cried when I read your first post about this several years ago. Back in the 60s I was dating a sailor. His parents had a 33 1/3 vinyl of the music from Windjammer. They let me borrow it and I was so in love with the songs. I have been able to purchase a copy of the movie to stream on my computer. I am taken back to the days of loving a Navy man, when I was young in heart and spirit. Now, at nearly 74, I count my blessings. I did not marry the sailor, but did marry the Marine I met at the Fountain of Trevi in Rome. I was 17 when we met. His last name was Budai and I have yet to hear anyone pronounce it properly. I always tell folks that you say BOO to scare them, and then they DIE!

  27. Image for Laura Harrie Laura Harrie

    KariAnne, you nailed it again today! Such a good Daddy you had. Obviously, you have a wonderful husband too!

  28. Image for Maria Maria

    I just read this post. I have goosebumps and tears running down my face. This life story you have is absolutely special. Thanks for sharing:)

  29. Image for PJ PJ

    Oh my gosh. Just imagining your dad and new husband singing that song gets to me. You are truly blessed. But, I know you already knew that.

  30. Image for Marlene Stephenson Marlene Stephenson

    What a wonderful memory. I am so glad you love to share them cause i sure do love hearing them. Your wreath is pretty also, i may copy it just a little i have some pink flowers and greenery. Thanks and have a blessed April.

  31. Image for Toni Toni

    And yes, I join the others in tears! What a beautiful story....of your Daddy's love for your mother, for his daughter and your husbands love of you. You are a BLESSED WOMAN! Music cements memories in our hearts and then whenever we hear them we are instantly transported back! Love that!

  32. Image for Claudia A Claudia A

    Good on your Dad. Great for you. I don’t have memories like that. Both parents were gone before I got married.

  33. Image for Edie Edie

    Oh my what a sweet story. You made me cry. Your father was so sweet and kind. Yes I have been explaining my name since kindergarten. I was named after my mother and my grandmother, Edith Yvonne. If I had a dollar for every time I was called Eddie instead of Edie, I could have retired at 30! Now I use my middle name when ordering at drive through windows etc. Seems no matter how they spell Yvonne - it is always pronounced correctly. In the late 70's the US Army wanted me to register for the draft - t;hey clearly thought my name was Eddie....

  34. Image for Susan Susan

    On KariAnne, but you must frame those cards! Perhaps with the sweet picture of you and Denton! There you are with all your blonde curliness and red lipstick, and Denton with his hand lovingly over yours. Ahhh, so romantic is young love! I love how these two important men in your life conspired to surprise you. What a blessing for you! I'm sure your Dad is looking down and smiling proudly as you shared your precious memory with all of us! Peace and Hugs, Susan

  35. Image for Donna Donna

    Love everything about this story and I have followed you for years. Your dad and your husband couldn’t have planned a more perfect gift. Such a tender story and I have just texted my niece who is getting married Iin August. The virus is challenging all of us, Funerals, folks cannot mourn surrounded by others. Brides and grooms may have to postpone or have a tiny wedding. I pray all of us will make it one day at a time.

  36. Image for Mindy Whipple Mindy Whipple

    Well, you have me all misty over here. This is just the sweetest story ever. It was all so sweet but when I got to the part where your Dad backed away, passing the torch...oh my, real tears then.

  37. Image for Lynn Mosher Lynn Mosher

    OH, KARIANNE!!! Tears, tears, tears! What a beautiful, heart-warming memory! Oh, so special. And finding those cards. Oh, my gosh! And a beautiful dress of your grandmother. Sooo special! ❤

  38. Image for Jeanine Jeanine

    Be still my heart! I'm a true romantic, so I could relate to this story, and picture every scene. It's the sweetest ever! PS: I too can join you in the "nearly everyone on the face of the earth says and spells my name wrong" club! We girls gotta stick together😁

  39. Image for PJ PJ

    What a beautiful story of love! My given name is Peggy which has led to confusion on the part of those who insist I must be Margaret. Mom called me "PJ" ( for Peggy Jean, like the elusive character in the Charlie Brown comics). Yes, I had a song too, My dear uncle would sing "Peg of My Heart" to me each Saturday when I visited. Songs can stir up such memories, both joyous and bittersweet.

  40. Image for Rev. Suzanne Taylor Rev. Suzanne Taylor

    Our dear Car eeeeeee Anne, this song resonated so deeply in my soul that tears to my eyes! My dad was a sailor in WWII. He was wounded and received a Purple Heart and other medals. He was a cook and a gunner, hence the injury. Dad's songs were not so beautiful, but he was fun.

  41. Image for Kari Kari

    From one Kari to another, I hear you! For such a simple 4 letter name, it sure is hard for people to pronounce! Thank you for sharing your story and the memories. My parents also owned the Windjammer album and would play that song all the time.

  42. Image for Sherry Darlington Sherry Darlington

    Your sweet story gave me chills. You should have the lyrics or your father's notes made into a piece of art for your home. This story should be a Hallmark movie!

  43. Image for Yaya Yaya

    Good Morning tears! You are such a lucky girl. The love of a Father is such a special gift and certainly gives young girls confidence and know there place in the world. Your wedding dress is gorgeous!

  44. Image for Mary S Mary S

    Oh, KariAnne, You've done it again with your heartfelt story. You and your Sailor remind me of a Ken and Barbie doll (hope that doesn't offend) but your bright smile on your wedding day is most PRECIOUS as was your story!! Your wreath!! WOW! It's just beautiful! I make wreaths frequently but the grapevine that I've found in the stores, i.e. Hobby Lobby and JoAnn, are so full of debris they can't be left exposed. I've tried to find "clean" ones, but haven't seen any. Anyway - another wonderful post! Have a great day!!

  45. Image for Darlene Darlene

    Love your stories, especially the one about your Dad! You were truly blessed! My Dad died when I was five, so never experienced that love. Did not know what I had missed until I saw my son holding my first grandaughter. I knew then what a father’s love was. Your stories are so heart warming and tear jerking. Thank you KariAnne, Blessings!

  46. Image for Celeste Celeste

    I'm so glad you'll let me sit by you. Unusual names unite! It wasn't until I was in High School that I even met another person with my name. And to top it off it's my middle name, which my parents chose to use instead of my equally unusual first name. So every year I would have to embarrassingly explain that my name was Celeste not Althea. But just to clarify, my mom miscarried multiple times before I was born and she had prayed for a child. Althea means healthy and wholesome and Celeste means heavenly. Hence a name to indicate her wishes for a healthy child which was the answer to prayer. I find that people with interesting names often become interesting people so yeah for us!


    KariAnne, thanks for sharing your beautiful memories of your precious Dad with us! Dads are so precious! And to think that your Dad was able to get your dear husband singing to you, too, is just such a wonderful memory! Your dress was so pretty! You were a beautiful bride! That picture of you and your hubby just show how happy you were -- and still are, Just love all your wonderful stories you share with us, Your Dad, Mom and your dear husband knew how precious and special you are -- and we do, too! Bless you for being the very precious gal you are! You are loved so much!

  48. Image for DeMarie Ingraham DeMarie Ingraham

    Dang it! You sure know how to make a gal cry! Such a beautiful story. And yes, I have one of those names that has a capital letter in it, and people stumble over the pronunciation. My naming was a gift to myself when I left an abusive childhood behind as a young woman. It was a fresh beginning... a reclaiming of my soul. And now all is well with my soul.

  49. Image for Donna Marie Donna Marie

    How precious. If all daughters had fathers like yours and husbands like yours; the world would be a much better place!!! You are indeed blessed. Love your story.

  50. Image for Marian Marian

    Oh, darling friend, Thank you so much for that lovely story. I remembered that someone sang a song about your name. But this, this was so gorgeous! What a beautiful way to transition from one life to another. What a gift those two sweet men gave you. I will sleep better tonight having read that story. And I wish I was there to see your letters in person. I can totally see the dolphin clapping. All the best, The Other Marian

  51. Image for Chloe Chloe

    What an amazing and wonderful story. God bless you and your wonderful name and your wonderful life and your wonderful father and your wonderful husband! God Bless!

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