Susanna Shetley

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

I recently experienced a visual about worrying. It was a mountain where the highest point is the peak of worry.

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Recently someone described me as a “longtime columnist for the Smoky Mountain News,” which made me realize I’ve been sharing personal stories, revelations and anecdotes with this audience for quite a while.

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If you need a reminder of the sweet soul of humanity, visit your local farmers market on a Saturday morning.

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I’ve become fascinated with studies and lifestyle changes focused on longevity and biohacking. A few recent “revolutionary health and wellness suggestions” made me realize our cave dwelling ancestors already had everything figured out.

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It’s March Madness, and as a graduate of North Carolina State University, I am thoroughly enjoying it. We Wolfpack fans haven’t had much to celebrate in the way of basketball for a long time, so watching both the men’s and women’s teams progress to the NCAA Final Four has been quite the exciting experience. 

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Gratitude has become something of a buzz word and because of that, it seems that some people roll their eyes at the concept.

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Many folks seem out of alignment these days, and I’ve been thinking about why that may be. The uncertainty and unpredictability of the pandemic affected us deeply and highlighted the fragility of not only our day-to-day routines and comforts but of life in general.

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Many of us at The Smoky Mountain News have written novels, are in the process of writing a novel or plan to write one in the future, so novel writing is often a topic of conversation among the staff and we like to share resources.

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When Amanda Byerly and her husband took their two-year-old daughter, Elin, to a routine eye doctor’s appointment, the last thing they expected to hear was that her child most likely had a genetic condition that could result in permanent blindness. After doing research, consulting with additional physicians and traveling to Duke to confirm the diagnosis, they discovered there actually is a cure, but it’s currently just out of reach for patients. Rumble sat down with Amanda to hear her captivating story.

Recently, I was asked to speak to a leadership class at Tuscola High School and although flattered, I wondered if I was the best candidate for this experience.

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This past weekend, I served as a cabin leader for Winter Retreat, an annual youth event hosted by First United Methodist Church.

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I love the energy surrounding a new year. Why are beginnings so enchanting? Perhaps it’s the hope and anticipation of the unknown or maybe an open opportunity to shed old habits, behaviors and beliefs that are no longer serving us.

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It’s hard to believe Christmas is less than a week away. With more gifts to buy, a Christmas puzzle partially finished and cards yet to be mailed, I still have plenty to do, but I’m not letting the stress get to me.

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Many years ago when I was an educator, my school was tasked with reading a book titled “The Cycle of Poverty” by Ruby Payne.

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The holidays are a special and festive time of year, but they can also be stressful or heartbreaking for some. Maybe it’s the long list of activities and social engagements, or maybe it’s overspending or overeating, or perhaps it’s missing a loved one who's no longer here on earth. Whatever the reason, there are some important things to keep in mind so we stay grounded, relaxed and in a good mental space to enjoy this cherished season.

Many years ago when I was an educator we were tasked with reading a book called “The Cycle of Poverty” by Ruby Payne. It’s a fascinating read and highlights an array of topics in depth. There are three basic socio-economic classes (poverty, middle-class and wealth). It’s challenging to break out of any class without an external force. This is similar to Newton’s law → a body in motion stays in motion until acted upon by an external force. Poverty keeps rolling through generations until something significant comes along to stop it. 

Over 10 years ago, I was part of a cohort at Long’s Chapel United Methodist Church who read a book called “A Simple Act of Gratitude” by John Kralik.

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I’ve been wondering lately how to slow down time. If you’re a parent, I’m sure you would agree there’s a positive correlation between children getting older and days moving faster.

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Anyone who’s been fortunate enough to meet Sarah Miller, owner of Divas on Main in downtown Franklin, knows what a dynamic, intelligent and generous woman she is. If you’ve never met Sarah or visited her store, I suggest you add that to your agenda the next time you’re in Western North Carolina. As she said, visiting her store isn’t simply shopping, it’s an “experience” with drinks, hors d'oeuvres, a knowledgeable staff and beautiful packaging. Even if you don’t buy anything, you’ll enjoy your time at Divas on Main. 

My last newspaper column talked of Thomas Aquinas’s four idols  — money, power, pleasure and fame, and how they not only play a part in our everyday lives but also in wars and political unrest.

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We always love talking with Beth Sanderson Hooper about health and wellness. Her experience and expertise are vast and her personality is infectious. After trying to manage body image issues by controlling and restricting her physical body, Beth learned that true healing only comes when we take an intentionally holistic approach as opposed to hyper-focusing on fitness and nutrition. As Beth says, “I understand now that working on ourselves only from the outside will never bring the peace we're all truly after.”

I never pretend to be an expert on current events. In fact, I mostly avoid the news because so much of it is doom and gloom or the same old political rhetoric.

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Over the summer, we visited a friend’s lake house in Georgia. There were 17 of us in the group, and while there we played pickleball.

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Laura Messer and I have been friends since elementary school. Some of our fondest memories of those years are being on an Odyssey of the Mind (OM) team together where we were given the gift of space and time to be creative. Recently when Laura and I chatted, we talked of a time when we did an OM project about Pompeii and how we traveled to West Asheville with our teacher to cut a significant amount of colored glass so we could make a massive mosaic of an erupting Mount Vesuvius. It’s interesting how those types of hands-on, experiential activities stick with us so much more than sitting in classrooms doing worksheets or listening to lectures. If you’re a teacher reading this, I think there’s a lesson in that. 

I’ve never doubted I’m an old soul, so maybe my attachment to herbal remedies and plant-based eating is connected to another lifetime when nature and humans functioned more synergistically.

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It was a beautiful sunny morning when I felt the urge to make the 45-minute drive to my hometown of Weaverville.

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Sisters-in-law Chelsea Ramsey and Haley Ramey are two creative spirits who had a dream to open a storefront, after several years of operating pop-up markets. They wanted a place where they could sell their own items as well as fashion, accessories, home goods and products from other local artists. Originally located in Clyde, Soul Sisters Depot moved to 240 Depot Street in the Historic Frog Level District of Waynesville in April of 2022. Rumble recently sat down with co-owner Chelsea to learn more about the origin and evolution of this popular store. 

It’s been almost 20 years since I first stumbled into Frog Level, the area of downtown Waynesville located along Richland Creek. At the time, I was an intern at Waynesville Middle School but living in downtown Asheville. A friend and I ventured over to Haywood County one Saturday so I could show off its scenic beauty. After a morning of hiking, we found ourselves at Panacea Coffee Company. This would become the first of many work sessions, coffee dates, and other meet-ups at this beloved coffee shop. It’s even the location of our annual Smoky Mountain News Christmas party. 

A lot has changed through the decades, but the excitement surrounding a back-to-school season remains.

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This summer I’ve been learning several important life lessons. 

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Candra Smith has spent most of her life curious about or working in the healing arts. She is currently the owner of Maggie Valley Wellness. In the coming months, they will be rebranding as Sundarah Wellness. They will have two locations — their original location at 461 Moody Farm Road in Maggie Valley and a second location in Waynesville as a collaborative effort with Waynesville Yoga Center. Rumble recently sat down with Candra to learn more about her history in the healing arts, what it’s like balancing family, work and self,  and what’s to come in the future. 

A couple weeks ago The Smoky Mountain News hosted its anniversary party.

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Jennifer Winney has lived in Upstate South Carolina her entire life. Growing up, she was exposed to real estate through her family’s ownership of a number of properties. Building upon these early experiences, she is now a successful real estate agent at Coldwell Banker Caine in Greenville. She loves getting to know her clients and helping individuals and families find a place they can call home. Aside from her professional endeavors, Jennifer is passionate about spending time with her family, working out and raising awareness about endometriosis. With endometriosis being something that impacted Jennifer's life and the lives of many other women, Rumble sat down with Jennifer to learn more about this complicated condition. 

Lately we’ve been enjoying the hummingbirds each morning on our back deck.

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Currently three of the four kids in our house are out in the woods participating in an experience called Wilderness Trail. They are completely off the grid for five days. That leaves my 11-year-old at home for the week by himself. I batted around the idea of going on a trip with just him, but instead, decided to stay in town and enjoy a few local and regional attractions. 

Recently I stumbled upon one of my columns from 2017. I talked of an evening where I sat with my then 5-year-old little boy and read “Harold and the Purple Crayon” by Crockett Johnson.

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Stacy Pores is owner of 2 Chicks & a Gluten-Free Kitchen based out of Haywood County, N.C. When she was diagnosed with celiac and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), she started experimenting with gluten-free baking and found it to be a passion. That hobby turned into a full-time career and a business called 2 Chicks & a Gluten-Free Kitchen. Stacy loves creating delicious goodies for people who not only have dietary restrictions but also for folks who are working hard to limit the additives and GMO products they consume. Rumble sat down with Stacy to learn a little more about the business. 

According to the calendar, summertime is still a couple weeks away, but with morning birds singing and the sun brightly shining, it certainly feels like we’ve already rolled over into the summer season. 

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It seems the warmer weather is finally here to stay, and we can confidently plant flowers and vegetables without the worry of a hard freeze. If you’re a fan of gardening or tending to plants and herbs, be sure to visit Cultivate Garden Shop located in the historic Frog Level district of Waynesville, N.C. 

When I was growing up and even in early adulthood, World War II veterans were the elder of the veterans that we knew and honored. Now, as the decades roll along, Vietnam veterans are moving into their place. 

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Last weekend, I flew to Phoenix for a conference. During the four-hour flight, I sat beside a lap child, which is a young child who is small enough to sit on a caregiver’s lap during the plane ride.

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Brian and Craig Artley founded Grass Root Gardens in 1980. The business grew into one of the most trusted and respected garden centers in Western North Carolina. The community was saddened when the original owners closed the doors in 2021. Luckily, Rhonda and Brett Yarrington purchased and reopened the business as Grass Root Garden Company at the end of 2022 after several months of learning the trade and business operations from the Artley brothers. This week Rumble sat down with Rhonda Yarrington to learn more about her family’s powerful journey. 

During a recent trip to the grocery store I noticed that everyone looked stone faced. The only people who were smiling and looked lively were the children skipping alongside their caretakers. It made me realize that if people would smile a little more and not look so miserable, the world could be a brighter place. After I had this thought, I began thinking of other ways that we as individuals can add more light to a seemingly dark world. 

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Registration for Waynesville's 2023 Main Street Mile is open! This is a fun and lively family-friendly race. It will take place on Saturday, June 24, at 6:30 p.m. The event has been called "Western North Carolina's fastest, flattest one-mile race" and will raise money for REACH of Haywood County, which assists individuals suffering from domestic violence, dating abuse, sexual assault, or elder abuse. The Main Street Mile is a cherished road race down the historic section of Main Street, starting one mile south of the Haywood County Courthouse.   Following the race will be a free, post-race party featuring live music, food, drinks, local craft beer and kids' games/activities.

Patchwork Meadows embodies a new way of conceptualizing landscaping. Founder Emily Sampson and her team partner with clients to grow and install native plants that encourage pollinator habitats. Their goal is to convert parcels of residential or commercial land into beautiful wildflower meadow patches that benefit butterflies, bees, birds, and other wildlife. 

Vacation planning sounds fun in theory, but who really has time to sit down and plan an entire getaway? Amanda Henderson, owner of Time to Travel, is a Haywood County native and busy mom to two boys. She is also an instructor in the Birth-Kindergarten (BK) program at Western Carolina University. She created Time to Travel 10 years ago to help other families plan memorable vacations to places like Disney, Universtal Studios and more. 

Ever notice how the sparkle in a kid’s eyes diminishes with age? The older I get, the more I want to be like a kid. I want to laugh with my whole body and get excited about little things like chocolate chips in my pancakes or blowing a dandelion. 

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Nathan and Micheala Lowe own Southern Porch in downtown Canton, which has become a culinary and social hub for the town. They, along with their two young daughters and extended family, are fully immersed in day-to-day operations, making this a very special place for them and the town of Canton. For this week’s Rumble issue, we sat down with Michaela to learn a more about the story behind Southern Porch. 

In last week’s Rumble issue, we featured a roundup of female-driven businesses in Canton, N.C. CLick HERE to see the full list. We always encourage our readers to support local businesses, but in the wake of the recent announcement to close Pactiv Evergreen Packaging, we especially encourage you to support downtown Canton businesses in an effort to boost morale and the town’s economy. Today we are highlighting Lisa Conard and Pigeon River Mercantile, located at 365 Main Street. Lisa and her husband, Rick, opened the store in 2018. 

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This year for Lent I took on a challenge instead of giving up something. I challenged myself to communicate more with friends and family who are not in my daily realm.

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