Talking to moms

Sarah Herron debuts ‘Blonde Faith’ column in Blount Today

Posing for a photograph together on Thanksgiving Day, 2009, are the Herron family. From left are Phillip Herron; Adam, 3; Andrew 5; and Sarah Herron.

Posing for a photograph together on Thanksgiving Day, 2009, are the Herron family. From left are Phillip Herron; Adam, 3; Andrew 5; and Sarah Herron.

Sarah Herron is a blonde “mom-shell” on a mission.

Herron is a wife, mother of two young boys, church youth leader and freelance writer who considers Erma Bombeck her muse. Besides an ability to write, she has the willingness to laugh at herself.

Rather than describe her occupation as “Housewife and freelance writer,” she said she is “Herron House CEO” and “Word-Diva.”

So, now you know what you’re in for once a month in Blount Today.

Herron will write a monthly column for Blount Today that will top the Worship listings on the first Thursday of each month. Her title: “Blonde Faith.”

“I can’t promise I’ll always be funny,” Herron said. “I don’t consider myself a comedian, but I do know without a doubt I’ll make moms feel good about themselves. I always try to be honest and humble -- this mom thing is tough,” she said. “I’m on a crusade to say it’s OK to not be perfect. That’s what Erma Bombeck was like. She is my muse.”

Herron, 33, is married to Phillip Herron, and they have two sons: Adam, 3, and Andrew, 5 1/2. The West Knox native graduated from Karns High School. “I graduated in 1995 - before cell phones. To my youth at Fairview United Methodist Church, I’m prehistoric,” she said.

After high school she earned a degree in journalism from the East Tennessee State University in 1999 and went into youth ministry at St. Mark’s United Methodist Church in Louisville. “I was director of Children and Youth, and I had birth all the way up to 12th grade. It was a great job.”

Herron worked there for three years and then took a position working with kindergarten through sixth graders at Cokesbury United Methodist Church. “I went from a small rural church to very large suburban church that was huge, and I really missed Blount County,” she said.

She was at Cokesbury 14 months before she got a job in Children’s Ministry at Fairview United Methodist Church, and in October of 2003 got the opportunity to work with senior pastor Dr. Jerry Russell. “I’ve always really admired Dr. Russell and wanted to work for him. My first day working at Fairview was his birthday, and he and I have a very good relationship,” she said. “He likes to say I was the thorn in his side he has learned to give thanks for. It’s a daughter-father relationship. He learned a few things from me. He’s a very patient man.”

Herron said she was there until her second son was born in March of 2007. “I basically got comfy in my mommy cave. Having one child and a part-time job was challenging. Have two children and a part-time job was survival of the fittest, so I opted to stay home with them,” she said.

Herron said she still volunteers at Fairview United Methodist. “I lead a small group of middle school girls. They don’t hate me like they hate their mothers so that’s encouraging, and they still think I’m cool,” she said. “My son, who is 5 1/2, told me I couldn’t come to his assembly because I’m embarrassing. I just remind him there are teenagers down the road who think I’m cool, so I’ve still got the cool factor.”

Herron said she didn’t have a plan but imagined she would go back to work eventually. When the recession hit, there weren’t many jobs open in ministry, so she took it as an opportunity to try her hand at writing. “Luckily I’m in a position where my husband has been working long enough that it was nice that I didn’t have to work. But when the recession hit, I didn’t have the conscience to take a job away from someone who needed it more,” she said.

Herron said she has been writing since April of 2002, working for United Methodist Publishing House with curriculum called “LinC,” meaning “Living in Christ,” an online subscription-based lesson curriculum. She works with four or five on a team of writers.

“I’m the oldest, and I’ve been there the longest. I’ve written this online lesson curriculum on current events, and it gives Biblical references to things happening now. I write for them about once a month,” she said. “It is really relevant and timely. I look at things happening in current events and pop culture and how they relate to being a mom.”

Herron said writing curriculum has been fulfilling and kept her busy. “Then I thought about looking at newspapers and magazines. When my boys are going to preschool, I use that as an opportunity to find a creative outlet and find new things,” she said. “I like to say I don’t know what I want to do when I grow up, because I became what I wanted to be - a mom - and the rest is icing on the cake.”

Herron said she loves feature writing and enjoys the community flavor of Blount Today. “I enjoy the community aspect of Blount Today and always wanted to get on board with people who do that kind of thing and really respect and honor their community,” she said.

Herron said “Blonde Faith” was a concept she had in the back of her head for a while. “I thought, ‘I’ll go ahead and print a little page about Blonde Faith, and if opportunity came, I would be ready.’ It’s something I had been thinking about,” she said.

Herron said she has a following of moms on Facebook. “I post things about being a housewife and being a mom and put a spin on it. I have to laugh about it,” she said. “It is one of those things where you could laugh or cry, and anti-depressants are expensive… So I laugh, and I get great responses from moms.”

Herron said her online community of moms and other friends often encourage her to write a book of her observations. “I don’t have the energy to write a pamphlet, but if I get chance to turn observer, I’d love to have the chance to tell those stories,” she said. “I love the column format. It is short and sweet. I love finding little things -- not always informative and preaching -- but something fun and entertaining and relatable.”

Herron said when she thinks about her writing, including her curriculum writing, she seeks to entertain and inform or relate. “I do so much curriculum-writing that is teacher-based. I’m really excited about doing something different,” she said.

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