We'll have what she's having.

By Melissa Locker
December 30, 2020

Country star Reba McEntire has had a lot of success in her life, including 35 number one hits, a string of Grammys and Country Music Awards, a hosting gig at the CMA Awards, and her name in the Country Music Hall of Fame.

Despite all her accolades and platinum records, the singer and actress is still out there working hard, recording new music, working on a new TV show, and connecting with fans, because for her, success isn’t a number —it is about being happy. “It doesn't matter how successful you are with money or materialistic things,” she told Southern Living in a 2016 interview. “That stuff doesn't mean anything. I've been poor, and I've been rich. But out of all of it, I like to be happy.”

That is a valuable reminder that happiness is more important than many things. During a year as trying as 2020 with its seemingly endless onslaught of pandemic, civil unrest, political mudslinging, and an economic downturn, that is a lesson that bears repeating.

Reba McEntire
Credit: Terry Wyatt/Getty Images

Here are some of the other things we’ve learned from the star this year:

Keep working hard

While no one would begrudge the hard-working star a break, Reba has no interest in taking one. This year, news broke that she is going to star and executive produce a new series based on the beloved Southern tale, Fried Green Tomatoes. She is going to play a present day Idgie Threadgoode who returns to the small town of Whistle Stop to dive in to her past while working for a better future. It’s a Southerner’s dream come true, especially with the book’s author, Fannie Flagg, and Norman Lear, who worked as an executive producer on the film, both on board the project. Reba has no fear of hard work, something that was required growing up on her family’s 8,000-acre farm in Oklahoma. Those childhood lessons about “working hard and taking direction” clearly made an impact in her life and one that we could all take to heart.

Don’t be afraid of your past

We all have moments from our past that we are glad to relive, and we’ve all made mistakes and suffered hardships. Learning to accept those parts of ourselves can be fruitful and possibly help ourselves and others. This year, Reba looked back to remember how Kenny Rogers saved her after a devastating plane crash that killed seven of her band members, tour crew, and the plane’s pilots. Rogers reached out to her and asked her to join him on The Gambler movie. It was a movie that Reba credits with saving her sanity. Plus, if she wasn’t willing to look back at her past, she never would have re-released her 1990 album, Rumor Has It, for its 30th anniversary. No word on whether she regrets passing on the songDoes Fort Worth Ever Cross Your Mind” before it got to George Strait, though.

WATCH: Reba McEntire To Star in New Fried Green Tomatoes Series

Take time to connect

When Reba heard about a young fan recuperating in the hospital after a serious spinal cord injury, she decided to surprise the woman. Through a family friend, Reba reached out and FaceTimed with Aspen Allen while she recovered from a horse riding injury at the hospital, making sure she knew that Reba was rooting for her recovery. By taking just a little time out of her busy schedule, Reba made that young woman feel very special during a really difficult time, a true act of kindness.

Focus on the silver lining

In 2020, Reba suffered the devastating loss of her mother, Jacqueline McEntire. Such a loss is difficult at any time and it would be understandable if her grief was compounded by the pandemic. Reba, though, was able to find some small succor during the lockdown that left her quarantining with her grieving family in Oklahoma. She told Today show host Hoda Kotb, that the lockdown was a blessing. “I got to stay there at Mama’s house and help…clean everything out,” she said. “We had so many great times, going through drawers and boxes, and found pictures we’d never seen before, and we cried, we laughed, we toasted Mama. It was just an absolute, huge blessing to get to do that.” May we all be able to count our small blessings.