Gifts for Dad ➔

I know I’m not the only one whose life has been turned completely upside down these past few weeks. As much as I love my family, spending all this time together has already taken its toll—my husband is going nuts attempting to work, my kids are running around demanding snacks all day, and I’m trying to figure out how I’m still doing so much laundry even though no one has left the house in two weeks.

But I know someone in my household who is definitely benefitting from the strict social distancing measures we’re using to combat this global pandemic . . .

She just happens to have four legs and a tail.

Yep, our family dog is pretty happy right now. In fact, I’d say she’s absolutely ecstatic. All of her favorite people are home together . . . all the time. Cue the excessive body wagging (yep—when she wags her tail, her whole body goes with it).

For her, this means lots of extra love and attention (and naturally—treats). Combined with the ridiculous number of walks she’s been getting lately, I honestly think she’d prefer we keep this up forever.

RELATED: I Love That My Kids Are Growing Up With a Dog

Despite the fact that the rest of us are counting down the days until we regain some sense of normalcy—whatever that looks like—I have to admit I’m not mad about the added quality time with my fur-baby. There’s just something about the unconditional love of a pet I think we all need right now. They don’t pass judgment, they have no demands except for the most basic ones, and taking care of them gives us a sense of purpose that we desperately crave during this period of uncertainty.

I don’t know about you, but I could use all the cuddles I can get right now. Studies on pets have shown they help reduce symptoms of stress, anxiety, and depression. Plus, taking care of an animal can help us take care of ourselves—walks with a dog are a great way to improve fitness and cardiovascular health. And couldn’t we all use a good excuse to escape for a minute and get some fresh air?

Honestly, I’m just glad to have someone in this family who’s excited to have us all home and on top of each other. Someone who loves to be part of the chaos and doesn’t mind the mess. Someone who doesn’t care if we live in our pajamas and let the kids have way too much screentime.

She’s just happy to be here, and happy to be part of it.

RELATED: So God Gave Us Dogs

Our dog lets us know every day that we are valued, we are special, and we have a purpose, even when the future is uncertain.

She gives us consistency and routine, even if it’s just from meal to meal or walk to walk.

She’s always happy to see us, no matter what kind of mood we’re in or what kind of day we’re having.

And she never ceases to amaze us with the healing power of an extra-long nap on the couch.

Above all, she shows us grace when we need it most.

RELATED: I Never Realized How Hard it Would Be To Say Goodbye

And sure, we’re all currently packed together like sardines. Tempers are short and patience is thin. But when I try and see the situation from my dog’s perspective, I can’t help but think how fortunate we are to have this time with each other, even though the circumstances are far from ideal.

It’s so simple really—as long as we’re together, we’re going to be OK.

Emily Solberg

Emily Solberg is a soldier, military spouse, mom of two, and fierce advocate of women supporting women. The goal of her writing is to help others feel less alone in their parenting journeys, and she isn’t afraid to share the hard parts of her own. You can find more from her over on Facebook and Instagram at Shower Arguments with Emily Solberg.

I Was 16 with Nowhere to Turn

In: Living
Teen walking down road in sunlight

Trigger Warning: This post discusses teen suicide. If you or someone you know is thinking about harming themself, please call the 24-hour National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255 As an adolescent, I was trapped in two bad relationships: the one between my parents, and the one between my conflicted selves. Self number one (as I thought of her) desperately wanted to succeed in school, but self number two sabotaged all her efforts.  I might have been able to run away from my parents, but how on earth was I going to escape my selves? My parents and teachers acknowledged only a...

Keep Reading

Find the People Who Will Root for You

In: Friendship, Kids, Motherhood
Empty sports field, color photo

My son participated in tryouts out for a new travel soccer team at the end of a recreational fall soccer season one chilly evening in November. He has been playing recreational soccer since he was three years old when we started with the local club. He has been asking about joining a travel team since kindergarten. In recent seasons, I watched him struggle in the recreational league. I watched him wanting a little bit more in the sport as he developed his passion—he was ready to grow.  We knew he loved soccer, and it was something he had always wanted...

Keep Reading

An EF-3 Tornado Hit My Small Town. What It Can Teach Us about Strength.

In: Living
Tornado warning in Michigan town

It didn’t seem like a bad storm. In fact, I thought it would miss us. And I was a little bummed, to be honest. Because I love a good storm.  My 6-year-old son and I stood at the sliding door, listening as thunder roared in the distance. The sky started to light up, as droplets of rain began to hit us through the screen door. Suddenly a streak of lightning hit the ground in the near distance. Followed by another.  Maybe this storm won’t miss us after all.  We shut the door as the wind seemed to pick up. The...

Keep Reading

I Know My Friends Aren’t Bothered by My Messy House, but I Am

In: Friendship, Living, Motherhood
Sad woman by laundry pile

My house screams at me. It screams to clear off the kitchen counters, to put away the clean clothes, to organize the shoe collection in our entry, to gather up the scattered toys, to sweep the crumbs up, to place the throw pillows back on the couch, to clean off the table—you get the idea. Everything in my sight speaks volumes to the state it does not want to be in, for the chaos it is imposing.  Keeping home is a labor of love and never of balance for me. Everything that is cleaned, made, or organized will always get...

Keep Reading

A Medical Diagnosis Challenges a Marriage

In: Cancer, Living, Marriage
Bald woman holding clippers over husband's head, color photo

It is no secret now that Albert Pujols and his wife have announced their divorce shortly after she had surgery to remove a brain tumor. As a breast cancer survivor, this news hit me in a special way. As I was reading through an article from Today, there was a quote that hit me hard, “But a marriage falling apart is far more common when the wife is the patient, researchers have found. A woman is six times more likely to be separated or divorced soon after a diagnosis of cancer or multiple sclerosis than if a man in the relationship is...

Keep Reading

You Are So Much More than the Doubts in Your Head

In: Living, Motherhood
Little girl looking out window, color photo

Keep pushing. Push through every doubt the enemy instills in your mind.  Push through the depression. Push through the worrisome moments. Push through that anxiety that won’t let you win.  You’ve got to keep going. Keep moving forward.  You are a great mother. You are a great wife. You are a great employee and an even better friend.  RELATED: Struggling With Mental Health Makes You a Bad Mom—And Other Lies I’ve Believed Don’t get stuck in the same spot that depression has led you and those thoughts that say you aren’t good enough or worthy enough.  You are.  God says...

Keep Reading

I Will Live For You

In: Living, Motherhood
Mother and child silhouette

“I would die for my child, ”a well-known, often said sacrificial statement. I didn’t really know how my fierce love for my child would manifest until the first time she was extremely upset, and I didn’t know why.  Readers, I would have cut off a finger to console my baby.  I would die to protect her.  Both are strong, love-filled sentiments. And both, God willing, are unnecessary.  But there’s a daunting task that is absolutely necessary. At times it needs to be a conscious decision. Sometimes it’ll require taking care of yourself so you can better care for your child....

Keep Reading

Don’t Write Off How Far You’ve Come

In: Living
Woman smiling

Tonight when the demons in my head want to take over, I’m reminding myself that I am amazing, and I have accomplished things I dreamt about for years. I graduated from college. I have a B.A. in psychology. Other people had that. Not me. But now I do. I’m getting my Master’s degree in social work. I am a published writer. Yes, my brain and other people are tearing me down and screaming at me that I can’t do anything right. But the evidence? The evidence is that I have survived 16 years of special needs parenting. And that is...

Keep Reading

Dear Girl, Give Jesus Your Mess

In: Faith, Living
Woman holding Bible, color photo

Oh, dear girl, Give Jesus the mess. Your mess. The mess you think is too much or too big or too unbearable. The depths of the mess. The very worst of the mess. Lay it at His feet. He knew you long before the mess existed. Nobody knows your mess like Jesus. I assure you—this will not catch Him by surprise. Even when you do not understand, even when it is most difficult, even when you have your head buried in your hands. Praise Him, for God wastes nothing.  Even when it feels like opposition is coming at you from...

Keep Reading

Friends Can Be a Sanctuary

In: Friendship, Grief
Group of friends hugging

A sanctuary is defined as anywhere people go for peaceful tranquility or introspection. My friends became my sanctuary when my husband, Frank, died. They became my refuge and my safe place. Friendship is one of the most wonderful gifts in this world. It is beautiful, comforting, ever-changing, and, for me, a fixed point.  My friends seemed to know exactly what I needed and when I needed it. Their love and constant support got me through the worst of times and gave me the courage and confidence I needed to move forward.  I could never give an adequate thank you to...

Keep Reading

 5 Secrets to Connect with Your Kids


Proven techniques to build REAL connections