Susanna Shetley

Website URL: http://www.zealousmom.com Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Until 18 days ago, the Bible had always been an afterthought in my spiritual journey. It was a book I viewed from a distance, unsure how to use it in a way that resonated with me. Even in adulthood when I first attempted a daily devotional, I would Google the suggested Bible verse instead of actually looking it up in the Bible.

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op barbeeIn not every town do the children of doctors and lawyers go to the same schools as the children of teachers and mill workers, but in Haywood County, that’s the case. When I was teaching full-time in the classroom, I taught students whose parents owned boats and vacation homes, and I taught students who slept in a car and ate meals at The Open Door.

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op travelIf I described my childhood, it may sound to some like I was raised by a band of gypsies. And while that wasn’t exactly the case, I had quite a unique early life that I didn’t fully appreciate until rather recently.

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op tattooI got a tattoo a couple of weeks ago. It wasn’t on a whim. I wasn’t intoxicated. I wasn’t in Myrtle Beach. And I’m not a rebellious 16-year-old. The choice was very premeditated and something I’ve been thinking about for years. I was just waiting for the perfect design to manifest in my mind, which finally happened about a month ago.

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op willisOne day recently as I was walking through the parking lot at Waynesville Middle School, a car slowly pulled up beside me. I turned, and when the driver rolled down his window, I saw that it was an elderly gentleman in a World War II uniform.

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op 911Recently, a group of Waynesville Middle chorus students were at the 9/11 Memorial in New York City, and when they tried to sing the national anthem, they were stopped mid-song by a security guard who told them they needed a permit to perform. Before beginning the song, they had received verbal permission from a different security guard.

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op barbeeThere was a time when running was my saving grace. If I didn’t run at least four times a week, I could feel it in my body and in my mood. It was a must for me. I wrote about running all of the time on my blog. I participated in races all throughout the year.

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op merleWhen I was a little girl, I had a stuttering problem. The memories of struggling with words that started with “S” or “N” are vivid in my mind. Sometimes I would try to come up with ways to completely avoid saying anything that started with those letters.

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op columnThree months into this, I’ve decided that being a columnist for The Smoky Mountain News is potentially more challenging than being one for The New York Times. I’ve never been a columnist for a big-city publication, but I bet it’s easier to get lost in a sea of fast-paced New Yorkers after a contentious or honest column than it is to walk into Joey’s Pancake House where one knows half the occupancy. Growing up in Weaverville, I’m no stranger to the small-town vibe, a vibe that’s both comforting and precarious.

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op frI’ve been watching the Trump shenanigans from afar, laughing it off as a collective momentary lapse in judgment, but as he continues to gain momentum, I’m becoming dumbfounded by how many Americans are so easily deceived.

We all remember who was president when we were kids, and if my boys’ childhood memories are muddled whatsoever by Donald Trump’s bully-like, chauvinistic behavior, I’m going to be heartbroken.

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op barbeeThe other night I cut a skin tag off my husband’s face with a really sharp paring knife and some tweezers. I used peppermint essential oil to numb and rubbing alcohol to cleanse. Our 7-year old held a flashlight so I could see and our 4-year old looked on in amazement. 

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op stripperboobs“Out: so-called stripper boobs. In: a woman’s natural shape.” 

I read that sentence a couple of months ago in a Shape magazine article. It made me smile to myself because as someone who tries to be au natural, it makes me happy to know that the cosmetic breast implant trend is making a downward turn.

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op barbeeThere was a time in my life where I thought being wild would lead to a sense of freedom and purpose. I assumed that spontaneous trips, living alone, drinking good wine, writing long, dark journal entries and dabbling in debauchery would quench an underlying thirst for adventure.

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op barbeeOne Friday night in October my husband and I were dining at the bar at Frog’s Leap when I realized Smoky Mountain News Editor Scott McLeod was next to us enjoying a beer and an order of truffle fries. He and I began chatting about his kids, my kids, mutual friends and ultimately landed on the topics of writing and journalism. He asked what sorts of topics I write about and which publications I write for.

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