I named my dog Dolly after the queen of country music, Dolly Parton. This was after the realization that Dolly was my patron saint and on many levels my spirit guide. Let me explain. A few years ago, I got addicted to a made-for-TV movie: “Dolly Parton’s Coat of Many Colors.” I watched it every Friday, sometimes on repeat, after spending the day caring for my dad. For some strange reason it comforted me and gave me permission to cry. It drove my husband Zach crazy.

During this time, I began to seek out all things Dolly. Interviews, old episodes of “Hee Haw” and YouTube videos of her performances. I liked her gentle nature and her unapologetic approach to things.

As a kid growing up during Dolly’s reign, I had a different viewpoint of Dolly. She was everything I thought a woman shouldn’t be. She was also the butt of a lot of jokes. (Islands in the Stream?) Too much make-up, gigantic hair, and the infamous bust. Why would you bring so much attention to yourself?

Then something changed in me. I saw her for the shining beacon of feminism that she really is. She was once quoted as saying “It takes a lot of money to look this cheap.” She owned everything about herself. She was power, grace and, for me, comfort. A woman to look up to.

Now back to the movie. I can’t say why “Coat of Many Colors” had such an impact on me. I doubt the Hallmark channel knows either. I can say that it helped me through one of the most difficult times in my life and taught me a few lessons. The movie centered around her very poor family and the power of love in difficult times. I think we can all relate. It touched on pride and determination. The movie deals with the major life lesson dealing with love and loss. Something at the time I knew all too well. Dolly helped me let my daddy go.

So, in hindsight I don’t worry about how much I watched this silly movie. Or how weird I got cyberstalking Dolly. I just needed to know everything I could about the woman I admired. Recently there have been some Dolly-themed movies that you bet I’ve seen (a few times) and the most wonderful podcast called “Dolly Parton’s America” that makes my heart skip a beat. On yesterday’s episode Dolly was speaking about someone that had done her wrong early on in her career. The interviewer asked, “And you forgave him?” Saint Dolly replied, “Well of course, all there is, is forgiveness.”

I don’t know about you all, but as for me and my dog, we will continue to worship in the House of Dolly forever. Amen.