“The Smoky Mountains have inspired my music since I was a little girl,” says Dolly. Here she is in our Guideposts photo shoot on the porch of a replica of the one-room cabin in Tennessee where she grew up. “I was the fourth of 12 children of a sharecropper and his wife. It was so cold the day I came into the world that when the kitchen was mopped, the water left a film of ice on the floor. The doctor rode up on a horse, and I like to think God guided their steps along the snowy mountain ridge leading to our cabin, much the same way He guides my every step today.”
Dolly, Dr. Peale and The Power of Positive Thinking
Did you know Dolly is a voracious reader? In her Guideposts June 2014 cover story she revealed her favorite books — you’ll see why one of them is very near and dear to us. “I read everything I can get my hands on. Self-help books, novels, biographies, religion, best sellers, anything that helps me see what makes people tick. You never know how it might inspire you. That’s what happened back when I was on Porter Wagoner’s show. One of the musicians, Buck Trent, gave me this book as a birthday present by a preacher I’d never heard of. He had a long name and preached at a big church in New York City. But he knew how to talk to a country girl like me. 'Dream big, think big, pray big,' this preacher said. Lord, I thought, that’s just what I want to spend my life doing!"
What was that book that inspired Dolly all those years ago? The Power of Positive Thinking by Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, the founder of Guideposts!
BTW: Why is there a butterfly in this photo? They’re Dolly’s favorite. “As a little bitty child, I’d get lost chasing them into the woods. Everybody hollered at me, but I didn’t care. I’m going to be like a butterfly, I decided. Spread my wings and fly."
The Wonderful World of Dolly’s Wardrobe
It’s no secret that Dolly loves her stage and screen costumes! Her custom-made outfits — always with some sequins, rhinestones, glitter, anything that sparkles! — are legendary. Not surprisingly she keeps every one in a museum called Chasing Rainbows at Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. You can see some of her iconic looks from movies like Nine to Five, to the cap and gown she wore when receiving an honorary doctorate of humane and musical letters from the University of Tennessee. We worked with Dolly and her team on the concept for each of her outfits for our shoots. For her holiday get-up in Guideposts' The Joys of Christmas 2013 we collaborated with her creative director, Steve Summers, on the design and fabric. “Red skirt, red tweed vest, muted plaid blouse, red suede boots and candy-cane print apron. Does that sound good?” Yes, siree, it sure does, we told him. Don’t you agree?
Dolly's Sense of Humor
“People often compliment my voice, my songwriting, my business acumen, and yes, my distinctive fashion sense. But I’ve always felt that my greatest gift is my positive attitude and sense of humor,” Dolly told us in her Guideposts July 2004 cover story. "It’s like the Bible says, ‘A merry heart doeth good like medicine,'” says Dolly, who took up guitar at age seven, making her first instrument out of an old mandolin and two bass strings.
Why Dolly Never Stops Dreaming
“You might think with all that I’ve accomplished in my life — going to Nashville and becoming a big star beyond even my wildest dreams — I would rest easy. No ma’am. As long as I can, I’m gonna keep going — writing songs, making music, going on tour, building parks, being creative. If I can’t get up and walk, they’re gonna have to put wheels on my rocking chair so I can still rock and roll. I keep thinking big, dreaming big and praying big. Believe me, you never get too old to dream,” Dolly told us.
Dolly’s Tips on How to Make Your Dreams a Reality
How do you keep your dream alive? “You’ve got to be responsible for your dreams. You’ve got to take care of them the way you take care of your children, protect them, say no to people wo want to remake them their own way,” Dolly told us. We asked her for more advice in this exclusive video she shot for us. No one gives a pep talk like Dolly!
Dolly's Favorite Recipes
Dolly isn't just famous for her skills behind a microphone. Over the years, the Country icon has taught us a thing or two when in the kitchen as well. From butterscotch pies to buttery biscuits and pickled peaches, here are some of our favorite Dolly Parton recipes.
Dolly's Keys to Happiness
In her very first story for us, published way back in July 2004, Dolly shared with Guideposts readers her five tips for being happy, for leading a life filled with joy, love and gratitude. "I’ve come up with five things that make mine a happy life," Dolly wrote. "Five things that make just about anyone’s life joyous. Yours too, I bet."