Trisha Yearwood — "I'm learning to find joy every day"

One of the best things about country singer Trisha Yearwood's recipe for success? Plenty of butter. It figures abundantly and unapologetically in her best-selling 2008 cookbook, Georgia Cooking in an Oklahoma Kitchen. A collaboration with her mother, Gwen, and her older sister, Beth, the book features family stories that reveal Yearwood's literary flair; her text is as tasty as the down-home dishes. A sequel is due out next Mother's Day.

Other key ingredients (besides, of course, three Grammys, nine number one songs, 19 Top Ten singles, and 12 hit albums that together have sold more than 10 million copies) include a hands-on commitment to good works (plenty of check-writing, too, of course, but she relishes swinging a hammer with Habitat for Humanity); a newfound sense of balance between personal and professional pursuits, and a deeply happy home life. In 2005, Yearwood married fellow country music star Garth Brooks, who proposed onstage in front of 7,000 fans. They met in Nashville more than 20 years ago, but didn't connect as a couple until each had left an unhappy marriage, Trisha for the second time. The couple live in Oklahoma, where Garth settled after retiring from touring to be a full-time dad to daughters Taylor, 17, August, 15, and Allie, 13. Yearwood has stopped touring, too, but she still makes hit albums, most recently 2007's Heaven, Heartache, and the Power of Love; she's about to go back into the studio to record an album.

On a recent visit to New York City, Yearwood talked about family, feeling fabulous in her 40s, and her special bond with this magazine. "My mom never subscribed to anything else," Yearwood told us. "She credits a Good Housekeeping article for the early detection and lifesaving treatment of her cancer. She read about a woman with cancer who had very few symptoms, but her hair was falling out. My mom's hair was thinning, so that sparked her. She hadn't been to a doctor in years, and she went for a checkup. It turned out she had Stage III uterine cancer. She's great now; she's been healthy for over 10 years."