kari waits for me

Last week my red lipstick and I drove across the beautiful green rolling hills of Virginia to speak at an event at the General Store at Smith Mountain Lake.

But before I spoke.

Before I raised my hands in the air and twirled around and smelled the storms rolling in from the west.

Before I told stories and handed out stacks of fabric giveaways and filled platters with cookies and helped hang fabric garlands from end to end in the room, the staff at the store and I gathered in the front of the building and gave each other a pep talk and put our hands together for a cheer like we were on the fifty yard line at the local football game.

On the winning side.

And then something happened that I never expected.

picture frame

The staff handed me a package.  I opened it to discover a photograph of my house in a beautiful, distressed wooden frame.

But not just any frame.

A frame engraved with the words to a Norwegian sailing song that I’m named after.

Kari Waits for Me.

Here is the story of that song and the meaning behind it and the words that are forever printed on my heart.

wood slice centerpiece

My name is KariAnne.

Some people say it like Carry Anne.   Like the other song.  As in what’s your game now can anybody play.  It’s actually pronounced car (like the car you drive) + long e + anne (with an e).

It’s a challenge….I know.

I completely understand.

I’ve been challenged all my life with it.

And all those challenges all started with Norwegian movie spectacular, “Windjammer”……

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

Wood Slice Family Room Decor

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

Hydrangea and wood slices

My father named me after “Kari Waits For Me” and he sang it to 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.

Family Room Wood Slice Centerpiece

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.

I listened with eyes glistening as he strummed the first notes of the song.  Then the words drifted across the reception hall as he sang the first verse and the chorus and then suddenly….

….there was harmony.

From the recesses of the dark corner of the room, another voice joined in.  My new husband joined the chorus, playing his guitar with his twinkling brown eyes staring down at me full of the day and the moment and the future to come.

Singing my song.

Together my husband and my father stood together as they sang and sang and sang to me.

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

Wood Slice

Then quietly, my father stopped singing and strummed a 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

Decades letter, after my father’s passing,  my brother found the notes to that song tucked away amid the files and notes and stacks of paper in his desk.

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  I cried when they gave me the picture frame, too.  🙂

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  1. Image for Judy Judy

    I have tears running down my cheeks - I can feel the love in the words, in the memory. How precious is a gift that keeps on giving and giving and giving.

  2. Image for Lela Lela

    Dangit KariAnne, look at you making me cry on a Monday morning. Back to redo my makeup again! What a sweet gift and a beautiful story. Have a lovely day!

  3. Image for Terri Terri

    I too.. have tears in my coffee... NEVER get tired of hearing this "true life" story..... soooooo "SURVEY SAYS" ... YES THERE IS A BOOK" in the works... yes!!! and this beautiful story is one of the reasons why!!!!!! So hope you travel near us one of these days ... I would love to meet you in person!!!! :) .... (pssssttt... way too hot right now though... the Sunshine State is sizzling!!! ) lolol.... Thank you for this beautiful post!!!!!!!!!!

  4. Image for Sandi Dogget Sandi Dogget

    . . . and I am crying too! RE: Kari---our first daughter's name is Karin---with the same pronouncement as yours---it is Swedish & named from her great-grandmother. I think we are soul-sisters because of my 2nd daughter's wedding day & for yrs. before that her dad picked a song for her in similar fashion. He danced to it with her the day she wedded in a beautiful California ceremony. . . Forever Young. She too almost lost it during that dance!

  5. Image for Deb Cox Deb Cox

    Oh for goodness sake Kari, now I am crying................good way to start the day and getting ready to head out the door. Oh bless your little cotton socks and thank you so much for sharing your life with us here in blogland. You are blessed to have such memories to hold. Once again, thank you for sharing my dear.

  6. Image for Patty Patty

    Well you made me cry this morning too. I can only imagine how much that frame meant to you after reading about your Dad and your husband. How thoughtful a gift.

  7. Image for Amy W. Amy W.

    It's the very best when God puts life moments together! Wow! This was one of them if I've ever heard!! Love it! Thanks for sharing it! It's going to be a BEAUTIFUL day!!

    1. Image for Vicki Vicki

      We are so grateful for God things everyday in our store and in our lives. Karianne was definitely a God thing for us and she is a joy to be with.

  8. Image for Barbara Barbara

    Tears here too!! Wonderful story, legacy and a beautiful name for a beautiful person. The frame is SO thoughtful!

  9. Image for Jennifee Jennifee

    This brought tears to my eyes and a lump in my throat! What I beautiful story about your daddy! I felt the love in it, thank you for sharing!!!!

  10. Image for Dorothy Paces Dorothy Paces

    KariAnne, the story of your song and how it was sung at your wedding is just beautiful, especially the way you describe it. You always brighten my day!

  11. Image for diane diane

    And I cried as I read this. I cried for my own father who is now gone, I cried for the changes in our family as my only daughter just got married one month ago and I cried happy tears for you as you share one amazing memory. Your Dad was obviously a special guy...thanks for sharing.

  12. Image for Linda J Linda J

    OK, well, I'm crying too! KariAnne, I don't know how you could be more blessed and it makes me so happy for you.

  13. Image for Linda Andersen Linda Andersen

    This is my all time favorite story of yours. Gets me every time. You were and are a lucky girl. love, Linda

  14. Image for Linda Linda

    Karianne, you can make a girl cry in her coffee with your stories! What a beautiful memory of your father and your husband, and now your new adventure in fabric!

  15. Image for Leona Leona

    Kleenex please...I cried when I first read your story and now I cry again. What a nice present to receive. And I hope this story is in your upcoming book.

  16. Image for Sandra Sandra

    A story too beautiful for words! My husband sang 'When I grow to old to dream' to me on our wedding day. What a thought gift from your friends. We've visited Smith Lake and it is lovely. Sandra www.lowcountryfelicitylife.com

  17. Image for Susan Susan

    I hope I'm spelling everything okay because I can't really see through the tears...this sweet story always gets to me. Your Dad was a wonderful man...your hubby, too...but then, look at the girl who inspired them to sing together...you're a special lady, KariAnne...so special, they wrote a song for you even before you were born! :)

  18. Image for Regina M. Regina M.

    Oh, KariAnne! What a beautiful story! And I'm glad to know how your name is pronounced!! Beautiful story, beautiful name! I would have cried, too!

  19. Image for Beth B Beth B

    Karianne, this is such a beautiful story. It just brought happy tears. I have two girls. I can only say this just really hit home today. You are clearly a blessing. Thank you so much for choosing this day to post it.

  20. Image for Debbie Debbie

    What a beautiful and tender gift. My eyes are so blurred with tears, I know you will forgive any misspellings. I loved your sweet, sweet song and story. So lovely. Thanks so much for sharing so much of yourself. Love ya lots, I think of you as a dear sweet friend.

  21. Image for Preppy Mountain Farmer Preppy Mountain Farmer

    The beautiful stories of your life really need to be made into a movie. They are just that amazing.

  22. Image for gina gina

    I cried at the staff's thoughtful gift. Cried even harder reading about the passing of the torch and then .....your brother's gift. Loved seeing this again.

  23. Image for Michelle Michelle

    Even though I've heard the story of the song you'd been named after (and I got weepy hearing it then), I got weepy again today. No one can tell a touching story like you, Karianne.

  24. Image for Clare Clare

    So beautiful, I am crying... It is a special love between a Dad and his daughter. I think it is also hard for a Dad to give his daughter away at her wedding. It made me think of my own sweet father who I have missed now for 27 years. It is the beautiful memories that keep us going. Thanks for sharing! Clare

  25. Image for Janice Paschal in McKinney Texas Janice Paschal in McKinney Texas

    Beautiful gift Beautiful song Beautiful wedding Beautiful girl Thanks for sharing and reminding me of this memorable moment.

  26. Image for Leslie Watkins Leslie Watkins

    Crying my eyes out!! Wow... did they give you the perfect gift to touch your heart! Amazing! Precious. Priceless. Unforgettable.

  27. Image for Sue Sue

    Wow Karianne, three amazing men in your life. Two more on the horizon. Thanks for this,what a way to start the week. I'm glad to know the correct pronunciation of your name, I want to impress you if I get to come to a book signing! Hope its soon,I'm not getting any younger. Love ya.

  28. Image for Cecilia Cecilia

    Oh KariAnne! I'm sitting here with a huge lump in my throat about to cry myself. I love this story. What a wonderful blessing from your father. What precious, precious memories. Hugs, Cecilia

  29. Image for Susie Eisert Susie Eisert

    Oh KariAnne how your blog brings tears to my eyes as I imagine your Dad and then your husband singing to you!! What a blessed woman you are!! I would love to see the framed picture of your Dad's notes if possible. Have a wonderful day! Susan

  30. Image for Lydia Lydia

    I have tears in my eyes too. You couldn't help but be amazing, you seem to come from an incredible bloodline, and then married someone pretty incredible too. God has blessed you abundantly and I can see how grateful you are! Thank you for sharing your blessings and your joy with us.

  31. Image for Shirl' Shirl'

    I love that story! I do hope you will return to Va. one say so I can meet you. Those storm brewing kept me away. What an awesome gift!

  32. Image for Jeanine Jeanine

    Every little girl deserves to have a daddy that loves her and makes her feel special like this! And then a husband to continue the tradition. How very blessed you are! Love this story.

  33. Image for Shirley Shirley

    I still cried even though I have read that story before- and how lovely is that photo frame? Congratulations on winning the Frog Tape challenge. You must be buzzing.

  34. Image for Ellen Ellen

    I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this story! I've read it before and it never grows old, so full of love. You have been surrounded with the most romantic of men. I hope it passes onto your sons as well- I think it already has. This has to be in the BOOK! Thank-you for this beautiful post. Loving the picture and frame- such a thoughtful and perfect gift.

  35. Image for Betty Betty

    I love each time that you post this beautiful story. How very fortunate you were to have a father who loved and cherished you and also a husband who feels the same. All of us should be so lucky.

  36. Image for Nancie Nancie

    I'm new to your blog, but I feel I've known you forever! I've been reading your stories in your archives. This story is one of my favorite. I cry each time I read it! How blessed you are to have had such a incredible Dad and a precious husband. Thank you for sharing this love story again!

  37. Image for Jana Jana

    Oh my goodness!!!! I am in tears picturing you at your wedding with your dad and husband celebrating you with that song! What a blessed memory for you! Thank you for sharing KariAnne!!!

  38. Image for Bonnie Schulte Bonnie Schulte

    I, like all the ladies that have commented before me here, have tears in my eyes too. What wonderful, exceptional memories to have of your father and husband, singing that beautiful song (your song) on your wedding day. Two very wonderful men to have in your life, for sure. Love the gift you received, of the picture of your home in a frame that is as special as you are. What a treasure.

  39. Image for Rebecca Turner Rebecca Turner

    They've been reading your blog, and paying attention. How thoughtful they were to give you such a meaningful gift! Smiles! Your story of the history behind your name and your song is so sweet, and memorable. You are blessed to be treasured! (By your fans too!)

  40. Image for JennyW JennyW

    Seriously Girlfriend? Your words can evoke such emotion! God did indeed give you a wonderful gift, thank you for sharing and touching our hearts. <3

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

    Well, you've gone and done it again. I might as well buy the huge multi-packs of tissue. I know the story -- I can almost repeat but by golly it still touches my heart. I hope you don't mind, but I am sharing this post with my writing group -- it's on putting emotion in your posts. You do such an excellent job of it. Big hugs! Have a wonderful day.

  42. Image for Rita Rita

    Karianne, God graced us with you and your lovely family at The General Store. Your smile and energy are contagious! Each word you speak brings enthusiasm and hope of renewed joy and strength. Bless you, dear lady, and keep spreading your thoughts and faith. The world is a much better place with you in it!

  43. Image for Jemma Jemma

    You know your heart is full of such goodness and joy and this story is such a beautiful testimony of where you came from, who you are and the beautiful woman that you have blossomed in to! xo Jemma

  44. Image for Ann C Ann C

    First time I've read your story, although I have received your emails for a couple years now. Love the story, love your dad for having the integrity to share the moment with your new husband and then stepping aside. I can only imagine how he felt at that moment. Thank you for moving us so much. I couldn't believe how many comments were made. Again, thank you.

  45. Image for Sheryl Sheryl

    You are indeed fortunate to have two men love you so very much. Some people never have even one. I am fortunate to have a husband love me that way even though he rarely says the words, he shows in every day in large and small ways. We are truly blessed!

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