When I got married…..

…..I was in madly, head-over-heels in love.

Shining-stars-in-the-eyes-bird-chirping-angels-playing-harps-singing-the-hallelujah-chorus kind of love.

I walked down the aisle in a white dress…..on the arm of my father…..hoping I didn’t trip on the monogrammed runner with the scent of Christmas trees filling the church….

….toward the most wonderful pair of twinkling brown eyes I have ever seen.

And I thought that this was it.

This was the fairy tale.

This was love.

I was wrong.


I didn’t understand that true love isn’t simply white dresses and birds chirping and Christmas tree scented church aisles and simply saying you may now kiss your bride.

True love is in the living.

In the small things.

In the details.

In the showing up and being counted.


Last week I spoke at the SNAP conference.

This is me trying to look attentive and studious while I’m listening to Vanessa’s speech.  I know her talk was wonderful and insightful and full of amazing points about how to use story-telling to add personality to your blog….

….but I didn’t hear a word.

I couldn’t… heart was pounding too loudly.

I’m not sure why I was so nervous.  I mean….I’ve spoken before about growing your blog and how to be organized for Christmas and why you should never wear Lee Press-On Nails to a boot camp graduation….

….all without a single shiver of my shoulders.

But this time was different.


Maybe because I was sharing my stories and reading them out loud?

Maybe because I had gulped down six glasses of water waiting for the other speakers to finish?

Maybe because I had over-practiced my speech in the hotel room and changed it four times and wondered if it even made sense and if anyone would even understand….

….and why didn’t SNAP offer canned laugh tracks for speeches?


Suddenly it was my turn.  

They called my name and I started walking to the front of the room.


And in that quiet, silent walk to the podium… heart was pounding so loudly I thought the entire front row could hear it.

I turned to face the audience with the crumpled stack of papers that was my speech clutched tightly in my shaking hands….reached for the microphone…..sent a silent prayer and took a deep breath.

And then I saw him.


I didn’t know my husband was coming. 

I didn’t know he would be there.

I had told him not to come.  I told him it would make me too nervous.  I told him that I had spoken before and that it was no big deal and that he had a million other things to do and he would probably be bored and to work on his paper instead.

But he didn’t listen.

And now that amazing pair of twinkling brown eyes met mine from the very back row of the auditorium.

Eyes that smiled at me.

Eyes that said….you got this.

Eyes that said….

…..I love you.

And right there in the middle of the middle of the SNAP conference…..a blonde-haired-red-lipstick-wearing-speaker with a pounding heart and a crumpled speech and a few stories to tell….smiled….gave the speech of a lifetime…..

….and told those twinkling brown eyes she loved him right back. 🙂

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


  1. Image for Gloria Gloria

    Sitting here smiling and so thankful. I too, enjoy a daily walk with my best friend of 30 years. What a wonderful reminder to start the day. Enjoy your day!

  2. Image for Jillene@inkhappi Jillene@inkhappi

    I love, love, LOVE that your husband was there. I didn't hear your heart beating, and I must have told the sweet girl next to me that you were the cutest thing ever at least 8 times! In fact I voted you the cutest SNAP sister in my mind. {for sure} I'm looking forward to following along with your fun stories at Thistlewood farms! ~xoxo Jillene

  3. Image for Anne Presley Anne Presley

    And I thought it was his kisses that stole your heart - either way he is an amazing man and loves you so. You are blessed to have such a special man in your life- enjoy.

  4. Image for Shirley@housepitalitydesigns Shirley@housepitalitydesigns

    I cannot tell you enough how much this story touched are right...true love is not shown only in the "fireworks in the sky" days, or the "slow motion" of running toward your true love after you have been apart . . it is also in moments like you had, in the unsolicited actions of support, just because. He knew, "you got it" however, he wanted to be able to "hold your hand from afar" with those twinkling brown eyes.

  5. Image for Cynthia @ A Button Tufted Life... Cynthia @ A Button Tufted Life...

    I can not think of a better way to start today than reading this beautiful post… I adore that he came to support you all on his own! I adore that you saw him at the back of the room before you started your speech… I adore that you are sharing that here with us and mostly… I adore that you can have a soft place to land if things don't always go according to plan. Life is always changing. The older I get the more I realize that having a strong, loving, marriage is more valuable than anything I ever dreamed about acquiring or achieving when I was younger. I am so glad that you have one… you deserve it sweet girl!!

  6. Image for Janet Janet

    You are the cutest thing ever. Great way to start my day . Touches my heart and makes me smile . Love reading your blog!

  7. Image for Marisa Franca @ Allourway Marisa Franca @ Allourway

    Excuse me but I'm having a hard time writing this for the tears in my eyes. That is a beautiful story and a testament to what real love is about. I'm going on 45 years married and I'm still as crazy about him as I was then -- even more so. I wish I could have been there to see and hear you speak. Did they tape it? Perhaps you could do something with that if they did. You are so great!! Love and hugs!!

  8. Image for Stephanie Ray Brown Stephanie Ray Brown

    Aw this is so sweet!!!! I love love love stories! So funny though.. last week we had trees on both are minds. This week I had love is in the air too.. sharing prom memories. I would love for anyone to post their old prom pictures my post is on my facebook page or you could go to website!!! Love spring fever..hope all have caught it!

  9. Image for nan, odessa, DE nan, odessa, DE

    I vote this as your ALL time best story!! We need new projects, travels, shopping and organizing but without LOVE what does any of it matter?

  10. Image for Amy W. Amy W.

    Awww....what a Love Story!! Your words warmed my heart!! Wished I could have been in the audience to hear your speech! I bet it was the greatest!! Wishing you a Wonderful Wednesday!!

  11. Image for baileywife baileywife

    Done. Melted. Love your heart....I also am MAD about my man after 17 yrs together!! I wish every couple had this, the world would be a far better place!! Thanks for sharing, and I SO wish I could've been there! ~Kim

  12. Image for Terry Terry

    You really are a true storyteller, but as a person with a bit of OCD, I could not have concentrated as well as I wanted with the table skirting falling off the sides of the table and being so messy! The hotel needs to fix that problem!

  13. Image for Sharon H Sharon H

    Miz karianne, once again you have brought me to tears! Seems like you do that a LOT.....sigh :) After I was able to collect myself, I thought....of course he would be there for you.....bless his heart!....that's what an amazing, brown eyes twinkling, man would do! And without a doubt you stole the show.......because that's what ROCK STARS do. By the way, did you happen to see the story of the 99-year old couple celebrating their 75th wedding anniversary in NJ? I have no doubt that's going to be you two, one of these days. Great day to you, friend.

  14. Image for Mimi-247 Mulberry Lane Mimi-247 Mulberry Lane

    Aw shucks, KariAnne, now you've my Maybelline mascara running down my cheeks...right as I'm getting ready to go to school... Maybe I can convince my students I have "smoky eyes."... :-) You are right--that is genuine, 100 %, no denying, absolute true love. Thanks for sharing that beautiful story.

  15. Image for Harriett Anderson Harriett Anderson

    Dang! I just lost my twinkling brown eyes 4 months ago after 46 plus years of marriage & I bawled liked a baby.. I think you've got the storytelling down pretty well!!

  16. Image for Dana Tucker Dana Tucker

    AWWWWW!! You and Denny are the cutest things ever. I am sure you gave an amazing speech. If this blog thing doesn't work out (wink, wink) you can always make a living as a stand up comic. You are freakin hilarious!! xoxoxo dana

  17. Image for Terri Terri

    Oh my goodness.... where is my stand - by box of Kleenex?????? thank you sooooooooo much for sharing!!!! Truly.... the journey... the daily walk... "Life" ... real "life" .. together is really what it's alllll about!!!!! What a man!!!! and btw............. You are hilarious... as well as super talented!!!! I soooo enjoy your blog!!!!

  18. Image for amy amy

    Totally made me cry! You are so amazing for sharing this - such love and talent. My husband & I have the privledge of meeting with engaged couples on a regular basis. One of my favorite parts is telling them - they ain't seen nothin' yet. It only gets better. Truer. (is that a word?) I remember all the excitement surrounding the wedding and the first year, but 17 years later its so much more. Sounds like your husband is just as lucky as you. ;) Many blessings.

  19. Image for Kim Banta Kim Banta

    Okay. I love this love story moment so much. I SAW you when you did your speech at Haven and I messed up your time... Still hit myself over the head for speeding you up. Wrongly. THIS speech I wish I could have seen. To see the moment when you first laid eyes on that loving hubby of yours. That secret twinkle of confidence he tossed at you from the back of the room. I can see it in my mind's eye. That flash of love crackling above the heads of all who were there to hear your stories. Your life stories. I could sit all day and listen to you. Can't wait to see you at Haven, Kari Anne!

  20. Image for Barbara Bussey Barbara Bussey

    While I don't often have time to visit, I can always count on a little/lot of inspiration and gentle reminders about what really matters. Thanks to our consult, my new business Pinterest page is coming right along. Lots more to do!

  21. Image for Wendy@Poohpoohpillows Wendy@Poohpoohpillows

    Bad news....I have to quit reading your posts at work. Every morning before I can even pretend to start working, I have to read your post. Today, the part about seeing your husband at SNAP, and he wasn't suppose to be there.....tears. Please put disclaimers on your posts for those of us that are at the office and pretending to work, but reading your posts, that "this one might tug at your heart strings". : )

  22. Image for Ann Ann

    I have probably only forwarded two or three blog posts to my husband ever. I sent him this one. And told him again today how much I loved him! Thanks for a great start to the day!

  23. Image for Mary Alice Kenley Mary Alice Kenley

    I LOVE THIS! Next Thursday, May 8, my Awesome Wonderful and I will celebrate the 50th anniversary of our first day, and I'm worse than a schoolgirl...planning my outfit, wondering what the secret date plan is. In 2016, we will celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary--and we're planning a SOCK HOP!! But, it really all started on that May night in 1964 when the party girl said yes to a one-time date with a nerd!!! Man of my dreams for sure!

  24. Image for Regina Regina

    Yes, sweet lady, THAT is what marriage is all about! Beautiful, KariAnne. Simply beautiful! :) Enjoy the sunshine today!

  25. Image for Bluwatergal Bluwatergal

    No matter what we tell ourselves internally about confidence, poise and success , when we see it reflected in a loved one's eyes, we know it's for real. The great thing about capturing these moments as you did in your post, is that you can share with others and re-live the moment time and again. If you are ever nervous or anxious again about speaking, "you've got this" moment captured to step up and be fantastic :-) (And tip of the hat to your hubs for being there for you!)

  26. Image for Jennifer Ferrell Jennifer Ferrell

    ((((Tears))))) oh WOW! Love this precious story! You guys are such a sweet, sweet couple:). Blessed to know you KariAnne! (I say that all the time!!). Haha! Happy day my friend:)

  27. Image for Julie R Julie R

    In these days of 50% marriage success, I think you've found the one true key, KariAnne. You and your husband are both SO lucky and wise :) And your children are the fortunate recipients of that kind of love too. I just adore your stories...thank you again.

  28. Image for Shayna Shayna

    My husband & I are celebrating our 1 year wedding anniversary this weekend (Sunday is the day!) but, it's so nice to hear others stories of still having true love in their heart for their spouse & genuinely loving being with them.

  29. Image for Kathy, Petticoat Junktion Kathy, Petticoat Junktion

    Karianne, I'm really surprised. You always look comfortable speaking in front of a group of people. The pounding heart and shaking voice is what happens to me. I could never be a public speaker. It's so sweet your hubby was there. Would love to meet him someday.

  30. Image for Sandy R Sandy R

    What a wonderful beautiful moment!!! Thank you for truly touched my heart! God bless you, your precious hubby, and all your family! xoxo

  31. Image for BrocanteuseRose BrocanteuseRose

    awe i am so teary eyed right now i just want to give big hugs and tell your sweetie he rocks, and you rock and everybody rocks!!!!! But i am at work so i will try to control myself! :) But mental hugs are flying EVERYWHERE!!!!

  32. Image for Abbey Abbey

    Giving me chills as usual, KariAnne! What a sweet story and what a pleasure it was for us to have connected with you, (your love!) at Snap. :) Wish I could've been there for the session!

  33. Image for lisa@celebrate creativity lisa@celebrate creativity

    Hi Karianne, Your words truly put the reader right there. What a sweet story and nice surprise. Sorry I had to miss SNAP. I'm familiar with it from reading about it on various blogs but haven't made the trip yet. Maybe next year. Having listened to your presentation at last year's Haven, I can't imagine why you'd be nervous-lol. Have a great week, Lisa

  34. Image for Marie @ The Interior Frugalista Marie @ The Interior Frugalista

    Awe Karianne, you had me at "I was wrong" and I was feeling sad about what I may be reading after I pressed the "continue reading" button. Instead I got a beautiful (well written) love story and a welt of tears that reminded me that Love is all that matters. Thanks for sharing with us!

  35. Image for Gracious Offering Gracious Offering

    I love the message of this post...enduring love! It really can get better with time...not necessarily the "fireworks" kind, but that deep, abiding kind of love. Thank you for sharing this story...just heard about the SNAP conference. Now I really wish I could have gone! You've got a good man there...take good care of him too!

  36. Image for Lauren @ The Thinking Closet Lauren @ The Thinking Closet

    Karianne, this post is further evidence why you are the PERFECT person for a talk on storytelling. I hung on every word. And didn't speed-read like I do most things at this hour. You had me with you in that room. And when he showed up, the water in my eyes overflowed their wells and spilled down, down, down. What a man. And I am so thankful to be able to call you my bloggy friend and to be inspired by you and your heart-rending stories on a regular basis. Can't wait to squeeze you (hopefully) at Haven this summer! Fingers crossed that you'll be there! (And maybe we can even sit next to each other again and giggle our way through a session.) HUGS!

  37. Image for Wendy Wendy

    Karianne~ love everything about you! The sweet way you talk about your husband & your incredible style & sence of humor. I think I must add to my bucket list today - that I have to meet you someday or at least hear you speak!! Keep Rocking & shining bright!

  38. Image for Debbie @Dewdrop Gables Debbie @Dewdrop Gables

    I got tears in my eyes reading about your husband's twinkling smile supporting you from the back of the room. I literally felt like I was reading the greatest love story ever. You have a way of making your reader feel all your emotions, you write beautifully. Debbie :)

  39. Image for dawn@joyfulscribblings dawn@joyfulscribblings

    You totally had it! I didn't get to meet your husband, but I'm positive he's as amazing as you are friend. You are an excellent story teller and I didn't think you seemed nervous at all. Meeting you was one of the biggest highlights of the conference for me.

  40. Image for Vivienne at The V Spot Vivienne at The V Spot

    Awww! So SUPER sweet! I didn't think you were nervous one teeny tiny little bit! You were awesome-sauce and I love that your Hubs was there. I love a good love story. It was a treat to meet you and a privilege to be on the same panel! xoxo

  41. Image for Debbie Debbie

    sniff sniff.....Reading this post made me once again, so grateful for my husband of 34 years. I am a breast cancer survivor and have had a double mastectomy and my wonderful husband makes me feel loved every day. So glad that we both have "keepers"! I LOVED your presentation at Snap and related your whole talk, word for word, (as much as I can remember. I'm old!) to my two sisters who were also there. You are a Awesome Possum! Deb

Comments are closed.