I can't think of a time when I didn't know who Dolly Parton was.

Even though I grew up as a city girl I have distinct memories of sitting on the rug in our living room and watching the movie 9 to 5. I was fascinated by the sparkle and glitz and glamour of this bold beautiful woman with all the blonde hair. And then I heard the song "Jolene" and I became a fan for life.

It took me three tries, but the day I actually was able to ask her a question on a phone interview is something I will never forget.

A podcast titled "Dolly Parton's America" was just released on iTunes and as I listened to every available episode in one afternoon (I may have a problem) I was reminded yet again why I adore Dolly.

1. Dolly Parton came from a life of poverty and she didn't let it hold her back. As a child who grew up wearing clothes from our local Salvation Army, I relate to her song "Coat of Many Colors" on a multitude of levels. I was made fun of and teased often because of my clothes and shoes. I began saving money for college at the age of 11 and just like Dolly, my experiences as a child have led me to become a more compassionate adult.

Funny thing is that the poorer people are, the more generous they seem to be.

2. She knows the importance of a good pair of high heels. While my on-air name has been shortened to "Prairie Wife" many of our listeners know that it's actually "Prairie Wife In Heels". I am so well known for always wearing heels, despite the weather, that many people check out my shoes before they even say hi to me...which I'm totally fine with ;)

I have tennis shoes with little rhinestones that I slip on if I exercise. But I always wear heels, even around the house. I'm such a short little thing, I can't reach my kitchen cabinets.

3. She's willing to take chances and isn't afraid to fail. In my own life, I've found it hard to take risks, after all, you never know if that "yes" will lead to more wonderful things...or if it will end in disaster. I agree with Dolly on this one, in the end it's always better to try and fail than to never try at all.

I thank God for my failures. Maybe not at the time but after some reflection. I never feel like a failure just because something I tried has failed.

4. Dolly Parton is always 100% unapologetically herself.

I'm not offended by all the dumb blonde jokes because I know I'm not dumb... and I also know that I'm not blonde.

It's true that Dolly Parton's look isn't for everyone, but she owns it and embraces it, and for that, she gets my respect. Whether I'm on-air or off, I always try and be authenticly myself. Sometimes that's sky-high heels and a sparkly dress, and other times it's a hoodie, baseball hat, and sweats. But, it's always 100% me.

You'd be surprised how much it costs to look this cheap!

5. Dolly Parton tries to see the good in everyone and make the best of every day. I think that this attitude right here is why Dolly is SO beloved by her fans. She is truly authenticly a good person. In her interviews, she doesn't fall into the trap of speaking ill about others, and she has donated millions of dollars to a variety of charities. Her Imagination Library has to date donated almost 130 million books to children across the world.

I'm not happy all the time, and I wouldn't want to be because that would make me a shallow person. But I do try to find the good in everybody.

I could keep on going with all the things I admire about Dolly Parton, but I think you get the point.

In the end, I can sum up my feelings by saying that Dolly Parton is a true woman of grit and grace.

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