All posts by Shelah

About Shelah

(Co-Editor-in-Chief) lives in Salt Lake City with her husband and six kids. She has a BA in English Teaching from BYU, an MA in American Culture Studies from Washington University in St. Louis, and an MFA in Creative Writing at BYU. Her work has been published in Dialogue, the Mormon Women Project, Irreantum, BYU Studies, and Segullah. When she’s not writing or wrangling, she can often be found running through the city in the pre-dawn darkness.

An Announcement

We are pleased to announce that Sandra Clark Jergensen has agreed to join me as a co-editor-in-chief of Segullah. Sandra has been our intrepid blog editor for the last several years, in addition to being an Associate Prose editor for our journal, and carrying the load behind the scenes on many projects. We appreciate Sandra’s voice, her wisdom, her musings on running barefoot, and her homemade jam. I’m happy to have her at my side as we work together balance the blessing of having lives full of work, family, and writing. We’re excited that she will have a more visible role at Segullah and an opportunity to help nourish the many writers who come through our (virtual) doors.

In defense of swearing

When my kids were younger, book club night was a bright shining beacon in my life. It was the only night each month when I could count on getting a night away. I’d actually hire a babysitter if my husband was working late. I loved to talk with adults (yay! adults!) and, better yet, to talk about my favorite subject (yay! books!). One of the things I did not love about book club was the inevitable discussion that cycled through every (Mormon) group that I was in, which was where we’d talk about where to draw the line when it came to language and sex in the books we read. Should we read The Kite Runner or not? Should we prep the group by telling them which pages they should skip if they want to avoid the pivotal rape scene? Is a book verboten if it has even one f-bomb? If not, how many are okay?

I remember one particularly painful night where we met to discuss The Book Thief and a newbie to the group proceeded to ream out all of the group regulars for reading smut (just as an aside, there are plenty of uncomfortable aspects in this fantastic YA novel, but its use of German profanity barely registered with me). The poor person who recommended the novel and had to lead the discussion was practically in tears, and the rest of us felt profoundly rankled and uncomfortable.  Continue reading

Tiger Mom Fail

It starts innocently enough. The kids in the neighborhood are starting a soccer team, and they need just one more to make a go of it. Can your four-year-old play? And you say yes without thinking that you’re signing away the next three months of Saturday mornings, not to mention all of those weekday afternoons where you’ll find yourself hunting for shin guards and yelling, “Where did you leave your cleats?,” before hauling your reluctant preschooler to another practice.

Maybe you’re a pianist, like my husband. Maybe your mom spent thirty minutes or an hour sitting on the piano bench with you every afternoon of your childhood and you now sight read music like you were born doing it. You just want the same thing for your kids– it’s not too much to ask, is it?

Then, a dozen years later, you find yourself writing blog posts while sitting at a playground in the middle of a Thursday afternoon, where you and your preschoolers are killing an hour in between your third and fourth (of five) trips to the dance studio that day. This gives them a break from fistfighting in the back seat of the car for a little while. Continue reading

Favorites: My Favorite Place

IMG_0270On that June morning six years ago when we moved in, I got to the house before the moving truck and the kids, pulled a chair onto the front porch, ate a yogurt, and fell in love. I’d never had a front porch before, and this one, with its graceful columns and plenty of room for chairs, was hard to resist. “I’m going to sit out here every morning after my run, enjoy my breakfast, and watch the street wake up,” I said to myself.

I am not a gardener. This year I couldn’t even muster the enthusiasm to weed my flower beds. But my front porch is always full of flowers. For the last few summers, I’ve lined the perimeter with potted geraniums, and unlike every herb and edible item I’ve ever tried to grow, these actually stay alive.  Continue reading

(Im)moderation in all things

Shelah EatsMy Instagram feed is a perfect illustration of my dilemma: first, a photo of a runner, then a video of an abs workout, followed by pictures of gluten-free, paleo, vegan, Whole 30 or otherwise super-healthy eats, all interspersed with pictures of beautiful people eating ice cream, or cheeseburgers, or liege waffles topped with cookie butter and creme fraiche, or waiting in line for food trucks.

I like to eat. And I’m an unrepentant omnivore– I like all foods. I would not turn up my nose at a McDonald’s french fry, but I’m also not afraid of octopus or swiss chard. I grew up in an home where we ate cake for breakfast (then shaved off wafer thin slices for the rest of the day). Food is the main love language in my family of origin, and it’s quickly becoming the same with my kids: a great band performance is always followed by a trip to Nielsen’s Frozen Custard, a 5K with donuts.

So it should come as no surprise that for most of my life, I was on the somewhat chubby side of average. Then, after I had my last biological child eight years ago, I discovered Weight Watchers and marathon running at the same time, dropped 30 pounds, and thought I was set for life.

Not so. Continue reading