Susanna Shetley

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The human race is always searching for guidance and inspiration, but sometimes we simply need to turn to Mother Nature. She holds many of the answers. By using nature as a guide, we can attune our bodies to each season and reach optimal health and well-being. 

I read a quote recently by Charlie “Tremendous” Jones that said, “You will be the same person in five years as you are today, except for the people you meet and the books you read.” 


My dad has been baking holiday Chex mix since I can remember. Along with our Christmas gifts is always a festive tin full of the savory snack topped with a bow. He still makes his delicious version, but I’ve started making it as well. With five kids between my boyfriend and me, I typically end up making at least three batches per season and that doesn’t count what we make for gifts. Below is a quick traditional party mix recipe. You can get creative with additional ingredients, but I like to keep it simple. 

Being from the mountains of Western North Carolina, temperatures can get bitterly cold during the winter months, although this year has been a pretty mild winter thus far. I typically run at least one race during a cooler month, or I’m training for a race that’s happening early spring. In an effort not to hurt myself or become defeated, I researched the best ways to run in the cold. Follow these 6 research-based tips to keep your body healthy during chilly running seasons.

Glennon Doyle is a favorite writer of mine and currently hosts a powerful podcast called “We Can Do Hard Things.” Doyle says what screws us up the most is the picture in our heads of how things are supposed to be. From birth, we’re offered images, words, models and examples of the types of people we’re encouraged to one day become. 


I’m an NC State alumni. When I was on campus in Raleigh, you couldn’t go into any pizza joint, bar or retail store without seeing a picture or quote from the legendary Wolfpack Basketball coach Jimmy Valvano. 

Writer Glennon Doyle says what screws us up most is the picture in our head of how things are supposed to be. This holiday season let’s try to shake those expectations, listen to our hearts and take on experiences that are truly meaningful. Today Rumble offers 6 tips to make this a reality. 

Susanne Blumer is a children’s author who had a dream to open a bookstore and coffee shop in a quaint downtown. In 2018, she opened Sassafras on Sutton in Black Mountain and three years later opened her second location in Waynesville, Sassafras on Main.

After initially opening Sassafras on Sutton as a bookstore, Susanne later added toys and other items to the space, coining the store’s tagline, “Rediscover your imagination.” When Susanne and her husband, Cole, were looking for a second location site, they found the perfect building at 196 N. Main Street in Waynesville. Susanne’s friend and fellow writer, Joyce Glass, came on board to manage the store. 

Every year of our girlhood, my sister and I woke up early on Thanksgiving Day, sat at the kitchen barstools in our pajamas and helped my mom break up cornbread and biscuits so we could make my great grandmother’s dressing recipe. Throughout the day, the house would fill with smells of turkey, macaroni and cheese, sweet potatoes and pumpkin pie. Sometime mid-morning, my grandparents would drive up from Travelers Rest, S.C., to join in on the festivities. 


Robin Arramae is a local artist and entrepreneur. In 2014, Robin hosted her first group-painting event. Rumble writer Susanna Shetley sat down with Robin to get the full scoop on her story. If you have an idea for a business venture or new endeavor, you will surely gain some inspiration by reading about Robin's journey. 

“Sometimes I need / Only to stand / Wherever I am / To be blessed.”  — Mary Oliver 


Many folks enjoy fashion and relish the thought of putting a fun outfit together, but not everyone has the money to follow the trends outlined in high fashion magazines or by wealthy influencers. The Rumble team did a little research and discovered the following 6 fashion trends are in high demand this coming winter season. The good news is these styles can be achieved on an average person’s budget. 

I’m a sucker for books on the human psyche. I’ve journeyed through several different careers, but my original bachelor’s degree is in psychology. I’ve always loved learning about and studying behavior and emotion. Someone recently loaned me a copy of The Happiness Trap, a book written by Russ Harris and centered around a revolutionary theory caalled Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). 

Some folks get overwhelmed with the thought of journaling because they feel they have nothing to write about or the blank page staring at them feels like too much pressure. With a little guidance, journaling can become not only a helpful daily exercise but also an enjoyable one. Instead of looking at journaling as some type of writing task, think of it as a conduit to improve your life and steer your future. 

Throughout decades of journaling, I've experimented with many methods and styles. Every day, as part of my morning routine, I write in a journal for about 15 minutes. I recently came across a writer named Colby Kultgen who offers suggestions on productivity, health and impactful daily habits. He suggested answering the five following questions to not only check in with yourself and practice gratitude but also to ensure your day manifests in the most productive and purposeful way possible. 

5 Daily Journal Questions 

  1. What am I grateful for? Be sure you show appreciation for what you have, where you are in life and who you love. Gratitude can be a superpower if you let it. 
  2. What is my most important task today? This will help you get your priorities straight for the day. Select the most important, needle-moving tasks as number one on your list. 
  3. What story-worthy moment happened yesterday? Thinking about the day before helps your memory and storytelling abilities. When answering, think about any interesting interactions, a great conversation, or a funny comment. Don’t overthink this. Have fun with it. 
  4. How am I feeling today? This helps foster self-awareness. It’s easy to slide into the daily grind and completely ignore how you’re feeling internally. Are there any lingering emotions that need managing? Sometimes giving yourself a rating of 1-10 can be helpful. 
  5. What’s working right now? What could be better? This helps you stay on track with your goals, habits and intentions. These questions will help you refocus, make adjustments and tweak your problem-solving tactics. 

Granted, journaling can be much more whimsical than this, but for people who like a little guidance and direction, these five daily questions may be just what you need. 

From the Rumble Archives

Last year around this time, the three founding members of Rumble, Hannah McLeod, Susanna Shetley, and Jessi Stone, shared their journaling stories. We’ve included those below. 

From Hannah -  I used to journal incessantly. As a child, preteen and teen, journaling was a great form of reflection and entertainment. It was a blank space that almost always sparked creativity. Before I had a cellphone, before we were allowed to watch TV without restriction, journaling was a regular passtime. I would explain my days in grave detail, spending excessive time and energy describing the woes of middle class, middle school life. 

That enthusiasm slowly faded and by the time I left college, journaling sessions were few and far between. Inevitably entries would only take place a few weeks after some major event, when I would recount and reflect on big changes — exciting, or heartbreaking. 

Lately, I have found a renewed interest in journaling, thanks to a more creative, no-strings-attached sort of method. These days I spend more time taping playbills or ticket stubs into its pages, rather than recounting monotonous daily schedules. My journal has become what my junk drawer used to be. It holds birthday cards and thank you notes, museum pamphlets and festival flyers. They all get cut down to size, taped in and become surrounded by brief explanatory scribblings. 

Long form journaling still has its place, but the act of putting physical things into my journal helps me open it far more often. 

I also write down a ton of recipes. Sometimes I’ll open my journal and only write down what I ate that day. Or, what I made for dinner. For someone who loves food and loves to cook, this is another easy way for me to look forward to opening my journal. 

Another valuable tool for journaling is writing down the things that inspire you. Whenever I read a book I always pencil in pages with particularly poignant or moving quotes. When the book is over, it’s a treat to go back through the pages marked and write down those words that caught your attention. 

I’ve become attached to the idea of allowing my journal to be a more open, free space. It helps me come back to it more regularly, and I’m finding it is once again a tool for sparking creativity. 

From Susanna - For years, I followed a method called bullet journaling. I even amassed a number of followers on Pinterest who were solely interested in my “how-to” blogs about bullet journaling. If you’ve never heard of bullet journaling, it’s a format that allows you to easily track things in a highly visual and organized manner. The method helps you explore your creative side. Doodling, sketching, color-coded notes, mind maps, vision boards and other brainstorming activities are incorporated into your personalized journal. 

What I found is that the method sometimes took away from the organic nature of journaling. It’s a great format when a person is attempting to start a new project or goal-set one’s way into a new career. It helped  me get more organized to a degree and also develop new daily habits. 

Ultimately, however, I still prefer good ol-fashioned journaling where I sit down and write about my feelings, thoughts, hopes, dreams, fears, sorrows and struggles. Something about simply getting it out into the universe makes me feel lighter. Once my internal dialogue is out in the world in written form, I can better reflect and problem solve. 

I also enjoy using my journal as a place to record quotes, lyrics and inspirational mantras or thoughts. I try to always have it with me so if I hear something on a podcast, read an excerpt in a book or see something in a movie, I can jot it down. If I don’t have my journal, I’ll put the quote, lyric or line in the notes app on my phone then write it in my journal later. 

The best thing about journaling is there are no rules. You can use the journal for whatever you want. Let it be your own little guidebook with all the things that make you feel better and more joyful. If you’re having trouble getting started, I offer these three tips:

  1. Set a timer for five minutes (incrementally increase this time) and make yourself write down whatever comes to mind. Eventually, this act of writing will become easier and more fluid, to the point where you won’t even need a timer. 
  2. Begin with a prompt. If you’re having trouble free writing, find some prompts to help you get started. Promt examples are ‘What kind of day are you having, and why?’ or ‘When and where do you feel most at peace. Why?’ or ‘What is something that’s bothering you?’ You can find hundreds of prompts via books and online resources. 
  3. Allow yourself to be vulnerable. So much of human behavior is affected by how we feel others perceive us. Your journal is a place where you can fully be yourself. In fact, that’s the whole point. 

Sometimes the actual world is just too much. Many people already have some type of quiet time or journaling practice. If you don’t, I suggest finding one that works for you. It’s an inexpensive and relatively simple life change that can offer a huge impact. 

From Jessi - I still have my personal journals dating back to third grade. My very first one was a Lisa Frank ( diary with brightly colored horses and rainbows. I love going back and reading my 8-year-old thoughts on life, school, friends and boys.

My journaling came to a halt in college and it’s not something I started doing again consistently until two years ago when I was on my weight loss journey. A health coach recommended writing what I ate every day but also writing down my feelings (instead of eating them). Now that I’m back in the swing of it, it’s less about weight loss and more about organizing my thoughts, venting my frustrations, and basically coaching myself through life.

First thing in the morning, I make my coffee, settle into my curated meditation/yoga space, and pull a tarot card for the day. The card typically acts as a journaling prompt, almost like a message from the universe about where I’m at, what I need to focus on, and what I need to watch out for in the future. 

It’s sometimes eerie how close to home a card will hit, and I’m always surprised how it allows me to pull emotions and thoughts from my subconscious and into my conscious brain. It’s often things I’ve suppressed, trying to convince myself it’s not bothering me or that it’s not important enough to care about or that it’s in the past.

Sometimes I’m frustrated by the message for the day, but I always feel better after I get it all out on paper. The health coach I listen to calls this a “brain dump” and that feels so true. You’d be amazed how much relief can come just from writing out your thoughts without any judgment or worrying about who else will read it. Once you get it all out, it’s so much easier to move on with your day without all the mental baggage weighing you down.

Tips for getting started:

  1. On days when I’m depressed or angry, it always helps to make a list in my journal of things that went right that day.
  2. Before you go to bed, journal about three things you’re grateful for that day.
  3. Challenge yourself to make a list of 25 things about yourself — not your favorite color or food, but REAL things about yourself!
  4. When you’re beating yourself up for something you’re not doing, journal about one thing you can do the next day to move you toward your goal.






For several years, The Smoky Mountain News has partnered with the Haywood Chamber of Commerce to publish its annual magazine. 


Looking for a family-friendly Halloween event in Haywood or Jackson Counties? See below for a roundup of events. Have fun and be safe! 

Being a mom is always hard, but there is something uniquely challenging about parenting an adolescent. For me, it felt like my 12-year-old morphed into a young man overnight. Within one calendar year, he grew six inches and three shoe sizes. I watched his pants grow shorter each day like he was a superhero molting into a larger, more powerful form. Suddenly his voice was deeper, and I found myself grasping for his little boy octave, the one without the baritone sound and crackly inflection.   


Rumble team member Susanna Shetley originally published this interview with Jennifer Smith in 2016 while she was undergoing breast cancer treatment. It's message continues to be powerful and informational for all individuals. Jennifer has been in remission for five years. 

In today’s unpredictable, chaotic world, we’re in search of anything that offers hope for humanity. 


Years ago when I was a mom to very young boys and blogging almost daily, I wrote a post about fostering literacy in kids. Not only had I been a language arts teacher and a reading instructional coach, but I had closely observed my own children and expereimented with a variety of strategies. Those little boys are now 12 and 9. They both enjoy reading, albeit very different genres. I fully believe a lot of the work I put in when they were young is paying off now that they're older. Below are the original six tips I inlcuded in that blog post, although I've added some new details and storylines. If you're the parent of young ones, these tips will hopefully help instill a love of books and a joy of reading. 

My 12-year-old son is extraordinarily inquisitive. Since he was a little boy, he’s inquired about everything from politics and finances to sports and geography to space and the environment to all topics in between. He loves to learn and fully absorbs all the knowledge he acquires, to the point where he’s often concerned about the outcome or implications of what’s going on in this big, confusing world of ours. 


For 5,000 years, individuals have been using botanicals as healing agents for the mind and body. Modern women fully understand why our ancestors started using them in the first place. Not only do they smell amazing, but they work! The human body instinctively responds to items that come from nature. All essential oils are made from flowers, plants, herbs or saps. Various oils help with specific ailments. The following 7 oils help decrase stress adn boost mood. 

I've been a fan of high-quality essential oils for a long time, and it seems when people get hooked on essential oils, they also become well-versed in the world of DIY products. That was the case for me, anyway. As I learned more about the benefits of oils and the horrible, toxic ingredients in mainstream skincare lines, I began to either use raw products (pure vitamin E, apple cider vinegar, coconut oil, etc.) or make my own products at home. 

Aside from the global darkness of a pandemic, political strife, natural disasters and the impending anniversary of 9/11, there is grief on a local and personal level as well. 


Community is essential to the human experience. We are social beings with an innate yearning to connect with and support one another. The recent floods in Western North Carolina reminded us what it means to be part of a true community. The minute the waters receded, folks of all ages and walks of life showed up to offer a genuine smile and a helping hand. When considering community as a concept, studies show it offers a number of benefits. 

The world feels beyond heavy right now. 

Floods, wildfires, war, refugees, a pandemic.

This topic of this article was orignally focused on the back-to-school season. The masking debate in our home county of Haywood was heated, but that wasn’t what was on my heart. As a daughter of two educators and a former teacher myself, the back-to-school season will always be special.

Several weeks ago I wrote about my anxiety surrounding the Lake Logan triathlon. At the time, I’d been training since April but had yet to register. My anxiety concerning the open water swim was extreme. I honestly just didn’t know if I could survive it. I know I sound dramatic, but it’s the truth. The entire experience was emotionally draining, but luckily I learned a few life lessons along the way. 

They say the weeks leading up to the anniversary of a loved one’s death are harder than the day itself. 

I’d say that’s true. 


This week’s column comes to you from a campground picnic table in Hershey, Pennsylvania. My boyfriend and I are on a weeklong RV adventure with our cumulative seven children. In January, we decided against a yearly beach trip and instead created a plan to visit three different amusement parks via giant recreational vehicle. 


What you don’t know won’t scare you. 

That was the lesson I learned during my first triathlon. 

Everyone needs a tribe, and sometimes we need more than one. 


Summertime and candles dance well together. Whether you're hosting a romantic al fresco dinner or simply trying to battle mosquitoes, there are many reasons to make candles during the summer months. Get creative and have fun with the process. Think citrus, flowery and herbal. You can't go wrong when using fresh, fragrant ingredients from Mother Earth. 

The simplest of changes to your daily lifestyle can make you feel more alert, productive and energetic. Following these seven steps will make your body healthier and life happier. 

Years ago during a teeth cleaning, an older dental hygienist offered some advice. She told me to let other people be my crystal ball — to observe their lives and learn from their mistakes, and to also note their successes and triumphs. Doing this would save valuable time.


Everything about summer is romantic. What doesn’t speak love when you combine sunshine with fresh food, bare skin and more daylight hours to frolic and adventure, not to mention those starry nights perfect for sky gazing and first kisses. Coming off the uncertainty of last year, this summer feels extra special. Below are 17 fun summer date ideas for you and your person. 

Some people are so unique no adjective seems worthy. They are such distinct individuals that a written description eludes me. My dad is a person such as this.

I recently went on a girls’ beach trip to Hilton Head Island. It’d been a while since I enjoyed surf and sun with my female tribe. The last all-female excursion was in August of 2016, the same week my mom passed away unexpectedly. She’d been battling cancer but was projected to live much longer, so her death came as a shock. Every time I thought about a girls’ beach trip, my stomach knotted. I associated the timing of my previous experience with my mother’s passing. 


Traveling with a gaggle of kids and teens can be exciting but only if you’re emotionally prepared and well equipped with a few tips and tricks. Together, my boyfriend and I have five kids ranging in ages from 9 to 17. We’re an active and adventurous brood. When we united tribes, we never planned to sit still, but we knew traveling would look different than ever before. Below are some suggestions to help you plan your vacay, especially if you have a group of children and adolescents in tow.  

Dawsonville, Georgia sits just an hour north of Atlanta nestled in the foothill of the Appalachian Mountains. Etched into the landscape of these hills you will find the perfect setting to release your inner racer at Atlanta Motorsports Park.

Sober-curious is the new buzzword. It means being more intentional about how, when and why you drink. Unlike previous movements or rehabilitation programs, diving into “sober-curious” is for everyone, not just those who have significant addictions or health issues stemming from alcohol use. 

Sponsored: Rumble sat down Smokey Park Nursery owner, Derek Engelhardt, to learn a few tips and suggestions for spring and summer gardening and landscaping. More than ever, people are having fun working in their yards and strengthening curb appeal. 

There was once a young girl in Southern India who lived in a house with no electricity. A coiled water hose sat in a corner of the room where she slept. Each night when the sun went down, she convinced herself it was a snake.


With decades of experience in the world of architecture, TAB Associates are leaders in the industry. Firm CEO, Tab Bonidy, sat down with Rumble to offer his knowledge and advice in regard to working with an architect. 

My last column was about reorienting oneself after a time of loss or change. The entire world is working to do that now that the height of the pandemic has seemingly, hopefully passed. I didn’t realize how disoriented I felt during COVID-19 until now. It’s as if a veil has lifted and life is full of possibility again. 


Something has shifted in the world of motherhood. It’s different than ever before, and it's not that previous generations of mothers cared for or loved their children less, it’s that our generation puts too much pressure on modern moms to be perfect. 

Haywood Community College’s Small Business Center is offering a social media summit on Tues., May 11.

I’m not the traditional church-going type. “Christianity” is an antiquated, laden term of which I’m not a fan. My faith is unique, evolving. My God is changing and alive with the times. My Bible is a book of stories, metaphors and poetry. It is not a hard and fast guidepost.


CBD was relatively unknown to the world a few years ago. Today, you can purchase a variety of CBD products at every pharmacy, convenient store and roadside stand, but not all products are equal.

Rumble’s Susanna Shetley sat down with Libby Rodenbough of the band Mipso. This popular North Carolina collective offers a variety of unique Americana tunes. In 2020, the talented quartet released their sixth album, Mipso, and Libby released her debut solo album, Spectacle of Love. Lucky for those of us in Western North Carolina, Mipso will be playing in Asheville next Thursday, April 29, at the unique Hazel Robinson Amphitheatre in the historic neighborhood of Montford. 

My boyfriend and I recently bought a vintage house. It was built in 1971. When the realtor gave us a tour, I furrowed my brow trying to imagine our blended family of seven settling into such an abode. Prior to finding this house, we’d been looking at modern homes with open floor plans, bright and airy kitchens, two-car garages and large closets. 


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