We have big plans tonight for Valentine’s Day.



We’re going to Dairy Queen.

Mostly because I love a hunger buster.

Mostly because Valentine’s Day kind of snuck up on us and we didn’t really make reservations anywhere and looked at each other yesterday and shrugged our shoulders and decided to go to a place that didn’t take reservations and where yoga pants are considered high fashion.

Mostly because I would follow those twinkling brown eyes to the fast food counter and back.

To celebrate Valentine’s Day and love that lasts through french fries and blizzards and holding hands over a brown laminate table with neon blinking lights in the background, I wanted to share a love story with you again.  It’s one of my favorites.  Mostly because it’s not about the giant gestures or the cards or the flowers or the box of chocolates.

It’s about the kind of love that shows up and turns something ordinary…

…into a love story.

I 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 a girl who owns a coffee shop that she’s poured her heart into where everyone in the town drinks coffee and has an epiphany.  But tragedy strikes and she’s about to lose the shop because the economy has taken a turn for the worse and she tries to hide her sadness behind a super sad smile.  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 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 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.


Cue the fireworks.

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 I got married to an incredible man and waited for all the romance to show up.

And occasionally it did.

Over the years there have been some flowers and singing 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 the Hallmark 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.

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

Like last week.

I was traveling home on my 1700th trip this summer 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.

I just wanted to sit for a minute and breathe and put my feet up and drink sweet tea and have someone tell me stories about their new backpack using words like “savage” and “on fleek.”

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.

And I promise you….

….I heard fireworks.

PS  See you at Dairy Queen.

Happy Valentine’s Day.

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  1. Image for Sue E Sondker Sue E Sondker

    I learned this week that love consists of knowledge, depth and insight. Our love contains all of that for each other. My husband is truly a gift from God. You and I are very loved.

  2. Image for Colleen Pausley Colleen Pausley

    It's truly amazing when someone knows you so well, in that very moment you need them, they know exactly what to do. :) Since I know you love a love story, and happy endings, In honor of Valentine's Day, I recently shared one I would love for you to read.

  3. Image for Hedy Hedy

    Yes, romance is in the little things. Like when I want another cup of coffee but my 4 fur babies have surrounded me and I can’t disturb them, without a word, he refills my cup.

  4. Image for Linda Pinion Linda Pinion

    When I look at that picture, I think, we could be looking at one of the twins! This picture really shows how much they look like you, so cute with your turned up nose! It is about the little things. We get so hung up on material things, we think that defines us and for some folks it does. However, as my almost 92 year old Momma says, memories are all you have, so make some good ones. I learned a long time ago that things are just things. I have lost them many times, the good news is you can have things again, different things. However in the end, it's the love and companionship that we all want. Have a great "Buster" today!

  5. Image for Richella Parham Richella Parham

    This is as perfect today as when you first wrote it, KariAnne. Even better, actually; it's JUST RIGHT for Valentine's Day! Much love to you on this day when we celebrate love. Enjoy your Dairy Queen date!

  6. Image for Gina Gina

    I have decided that my marriage is enduring because of low expectations!!! You mention "roses that unexpectantly show up"...I just found a $20 bill in the dryer and called it good! It actually did put a smile on my face and now I've decided we will spend it at Dairy Queen! Happy day!

  7. Image for Carrie Carrie

    love your stories...I show my love to my husband in that for 99 % of our married life, the coffee is always ready when he wakes up. It's the little things (like being serenaded the last 27 miles of a really long road trip) that add up to a bigger-than-life-ever-could-be card filled with love. And twinkling eyes.

  8. Image for Donna Marie Donna Marie

    I love your kind of Valentine's Day--there's still love and not so much commercialism!!! Love to you and yours!!!

  9. Image for Denise V Cox Denise V Cox

    Karianne, you both look lovely!! And my, what a handsome bloke he is! 👌 Hey, you were a "strawberry blonde"..!? Today is my birthday..🎂 61. Where did all that time go? To all the ladies out there... Have a wonderful Valentine's Day!! 💜🌹💗 Would you believe the middle initial " V" stands for " Valentine?? I know.. UGH.. what was Mom thinking? Must have been all those hormones coursing through her bloodstream after the birth.. Lol.. 🤣💗

  10. Image for Donna Donna

    Love your sweet story & your wedding photo & the memories. Life is the moments we remember where someone cared & we understood LOVE. It is a lifetime of understanding & remembering the moments. I have been going to many funerals lately & love biographies. The stories of people's lives, those moments of love, the inside, outside, upside down of life that stay with us that become "our stories" that weave together to become our quilts that endure. (Such a run-on sentence, oops.) These stories we remember are blessings.

  11. Image for Nancy of Adams and Elm Home Nancy of Adams and Elm Home

    Happy Valentine's Day sweet friend! I think Dairy Queen sounds perfect. In fact, since you're in Texas you can have one of my favs. The cherry dilly bar (they don't have in most places because of the red dye number 5). But Texas, being Texas, still sells them in some DQ's. Have a happy day friend! Nancy

  12. Image for Martha Martha

    What a beautiful story of love. This is what I tell anyone who will listen; it’s not about one day, it’s about everyday. And it’s not about have to, it’s about want to. It sounds like you both have the want to everyday.

  13. Image for Lisa Lisa

    Precious beautiful story.....true love! happy Valentine's day! Me and my hottie will be spending it with friends who's children we will be Godparents to - to finalize the details. We will be dining on shepherd's pie. ........it's not steak, like we had planned, but I don't have to cook! yay!

  14. Image for Jolyn Jolyn

    I'm more of a Dude kind of girl at the DQ, but this story made me smile, again. We avoid restaurants on Valentines' Day like the plague. I may surprise the hubby with DQ, though!


    Wow!!!! That is the sweetest story!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We are low key about Valentine's Day as we feel that we show each other every day that each other is special to the other! It is the little things that matter and like you I love to watch the grand gestures (and have had some of them) but to me it is the way he shows he loves me in so many small ways!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Love that twinkle brown eyes sang you home- so sweet!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Happy Valentine's day- enjoy your night at Dairy Queen!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  16. Image for Susan Ronnfeldt Susan Ronnfeldt

    Oh I LOVE that true story! That is what true love is all about. You make me smile! I am so happy for you. Bless your heart!! Love you and keep telling us those true stories!!

  17. Image for Linda Miller Linda Miller

    And this is why I love you...keepin' it real. Have a delightful day (and wonderful meal together at DQ). Happy Valentines Day to you and yours.

  18. Image for june june

    Your written words always leave me feeling so much joy. Today this girl who can talk non stop is speechless. Beautiful story❤️ Happy Valentines Day🥰

  19. Image for Carol Carol

    Karianne Great story for Valentines Day. I wish the DQs were open in snowy , blizzard,& windy Minnesota ! We are staying home tonight. I am truly happy for that

  20. Image for Janet Janet

    Beautifully written-absolutely agree-I am blessed as well to have one of those guys-thank you for sharing!!❤️💕

  21. Image for Yvette Yvette

    Those of us that are shown how much we are loved everyday are very blessed. It’s definitely the little things that mean the most and that show how much someone loves you. Happy Valentine’s Day! ♥️

  22. Image for Cheryl Cheryl

    Love your sweet love story! DQ sounds like the perfect setting for the perfect couple! Happy Valentine's Day my friend!

  23. Image for Kelly Kelly

    KariAnne I look forward to reading your blog so Much! It always puts a smile on my face or I find myself laughing out loud or even a tear in my eye. Your stories touch my heart and spirit because what you have is real and it’s so refreshing!! Great love story!!!

  24. Image for Deanna Deanna

    Thank you sooooo sooooooo much for this post Karianne. Love does not have to cost a cent. True love can be a song to get us home safe & sound. Lovely. True and through. Thank you again for sharing real life. I always look forward to your honest down to earth posts. Thank you again so very much! Love from Montreal, Canada.

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

    I really expected twinkling eyes to give you his last French fry and that's how you knew you were in love, Honey and I reached 49 years in January! And I love him more today than ever!! He makes it easy for me to blog. He helps with the cooking and the dishes. It's the every day things that matter, not the grand gestures. Let's put it this way, every day should be Valentine's Day. Happy Valentine's Day to you. Wish you lived closer - I send you something special over. Big hugs!!

  26. Image for Jennifer Ferrell Jennifer Ferrell

    ❤️❤️one of my favorite couples!!! Sending love to both of you all the way from the Bluegrass State!!! Happy Valentines Day!!❤️❤️

  27. Image for Tara @ Stilettos and Shiplap Tara @ Stilettos and Shiplap

    I've gotten so busy with life and kids lately that I haven't taken the time to read blogs and have me time but I'm so glad I took a minute to do just that today. I'm so glad I clicked on your blog and I clicked on this post because now I'm crying! Loved it! Thanks for sharing and give that special singer of yours an extra tight hug tonight at Dairy Queen.

  28. Image for Mary S Mary S

    You tell the SWEETEST stories. I'm jealous of the LOVE you two share. So Happy for you BOTH. And that picture on your wedding day is BEAUTIFUL! Happy Day to you and your SAILOR!

  29. Image for Leslie Watkins Leslie Watkins

    I loved reading this. The honesty. The reality. So much truth. I can so relate...you are a lucky girl to have that knight in shining armor sing you home. May he sing you home for a lifetime. Happy Valentine’s Day! P. S. I think a blizzard may have been a perfect thing. Maybe a post Valentine’s Day new tradition!!

  30. Image for Shelia P. Shelia P.

    Oh Karianne, that was too sweet! And you’re so right, it IS all about the little things! I can’t begin to tell you all the little things my partner does for me daily, from freezing bottle after bottle of water so they’ll crack just right and make the perfect crunchy ice ( I’m supposed to drink more water but I hate it and the only way to get it down me is for me to crunch ice chips, ha!), to cooking supper every night because I was so worn out from cooking 3 meals a day for 30 years, and countless other smaller gestures. I have Valentine’s Day year ‘round! I found him late in his life and almost mine, but I cherish every day I have with him. Every single minute. I do kind things for him too of course, don’t misunderstand, lol. But the point is, we don’t wait for Valentine’s Day to do something special for one another because we show each other daily how much we love each other. We know our time together is very limited so we take full advantage of it. I too, love a happy ending and I’m so happy you have a wonderful husband to share your life with because you deserve it. You’re one of the good ones Karianne. That’s a gorgeous wedding photo of you two and thank you for sharing that with us, it means a lot. We hold hands over fast food tables too, so I know y’all had a great Valentine’s Day at Dairy Queen. 😍. You’re the best! I wish you many more happy endings.

  31. Image for Michele M. Michele M.

    Oh my word, I am sitting here with tears streaming down my face. I think that is the sweetest thing I have ever read, ♥♥♥

  32. Image for Becky Becky

    Love, love, love this! I've never left a comment before today, but just had to. We are weeks away from our 50th, and you've got it right. It's the little everyday things. See you at Dairy Queen!

  33. Image for Patti Patti

    First time leaving a comment for you but just had to let you know how much I absolutely loved this post! Thank you so much for sharing your story and your heart with your readers.

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