Country Music icon Loretta Lynn has lived the stories in her music, and her odes of hardship and resilience contain no hint of fantasy. From her timeless “Coal Miner's Daughter,” to the title track of “Van Leer Rose” to “Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven” from “Full Circle,” Loretta Lynn's songs ring with the truth of her life as much as the with the high tones of the girl, turned woman, from Butcher Holler.

The singer-songwriter who virtually brought female choice, strength, and empowerment, single-handedly, to country music is not thinking about going to heaven today, October 4.

Instead, Loretta Lynn is up bright and early, being her own publicist, and announcing her visit with “Today” co-host, Jenna Bush Hager. Her inner strength, faith, and will to overcome were on full display through their conversation, and her voice was in fine form, too, as the pair talked about her new album “Wouldn't It Be Great,” which released last Friday.

Over the past 18 months, Loretta Lynn has exemplified the gumption and grit, of her upbringing, more than ever. She has overcome the impact of a stroke, followed by a severe fall, but the 86--year-old is still hitting her familiar notes from her beloved song catalog, and has even worked in a guitar lesson.

Beyond bouncing back

Loretta Lynn was not dressed in one of her trademark lace-and-sequined gowns for this early-morning conversation at Ernest Tubb’s Record Shop.

Instead, she wore a tailored women's Western shirt and slacks as she greeted Hager with a warm hug, and a word I cannot put in print, to the question of “How are you?” This artist has earned her right to use the language of her choice because she has been to hell and back, since May of 2017, when, just before she was about to host a music and motorcycle rally on her property, she suffered a stroke.

Even for the superstar, it seemed that when it rains, it pours, as a fall in January, resulting in a hip fracture, only compounded her health concerns.

“I'm ashamed to even say I feel so good,” Lynn gushed to Hager. She admitted to the scary feelings after realizing she had a stroke in a feature in Taste of Country on October 1, and it was her career, her family, and her fans that became vehicles of inspiration.

“You can't just sit down and say Hey take me,” insists the singer, whose timing and hearing have also borne some effect of the stroke. Like many stroke patients, Loretta Lynn understands the frustration between the mind’s certainty that “you can do this,” amidst the body’s counter of, “No, you can't quite do this.” She left her Hurricane Mills, TN ranch to undergo a relentless regimen of physical therapy, and sometimes forgets that she's not at home. Her resolve to return to the stage, and be “completely better” is fully in command.

“Call my booker!” Loretta Lynn called out during therapy sessions. There are already a few select dates planned for the stellar artist to show her fans that she still got it and that she’s back again.

She was also inspired by “Mommy’s words-- she said I was born to sing,” and by her late husband, Doolittle, who heard his wife sing the title song of “Wouldn't It Be Great” before he passed away. Simple things mean the most, and Loretta’s lyric reflects the joy of hearing “you say you love me with a sober mind.” Her voice is as familiar and powerful as ever in delivering that powerful message.

Moments worthy of reflection

Jenna Bush Hager reminds Loretta Lynn that she transformed the “girl singer” in her genre into a voice for women. Songs like “The Pill” and “Fist City” coming from a wife and a mother in the 60s, much less a female in country music, broke the door down for future comers like Kacey Musgraves, Miranda Lambert, and so many more modern songstresses in Loretta Lynn's debt.

Lynn interjects that “I'm proud of that,” referring to being the only “girl singer” who wrote, recorded, and made her songs number one. The sense of satisfaction is earned, not given, like the one that she has from being able to sing “Coal Miner's Daughter” so stridently after a difficult year. Every note is felt. She takes the most meaning from songwriting, declaring that “it's my life. I’m in every song I ever wrote.”

The interviewer is graced by an impromptu guitar lesson by the great country music mentor, and she has no hesitation in saying that family is what she is most grateful for, followed by “making it,” since that success has allowed her to be a provider. The only time that her eyes are downcast is in remembrance of her father when she regrets not being able to sing her song of growing up to him, extolling the abundance of love over material substance.

“I'll sing it for him one day,” Loretta Lynn quickly asserts with a smile.

That sweet reunion is set for the future, and let's hope that this superstar has many more songs, and many more audiences to sing to before that divine engagement is fulfilled. Loretta Lynn will be honored as the CMT Artist of a Lifetime on October 17.