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Jonesborough mom recognized on national stage

Nathan Baker • May 11, 2019 at 7:39 PM

Millions of moms will be recognized this Sunday, but Karen Lane got a little extra validation this year.

A few weeks ago, the Jonesborough resident was named Tennessee Mother of the Year in Washington, D.C., at the National Convention of American Mothers. Lane said she never expected to be chosen for such an honor, but she was thankful for the recognition.

The awards are coupled with a rap session of dozens of moms from across the country nominated in their states, territories or districts. Each gives a presentation on a mothering issue near and dear to her, and the attendees discuss the issues and strategize ways to build up other mothers.

“It felt like we got a lot accomplished,” Lane said. “The women there were so supportive. There was none of that competition feel in the room at all, only complete support and love. It felt like people wanted to hear what I had to say.”

While in the capital, she also talked with Sen. Marsha Blackburn and a representative of Sen. Lamar Alexander about her mom issue — the sometimes overly restrictive wall separating church and state in our nation’s public schools.

Lane, who is the pastor at Jonesborough United Methodist Church, said the strict political distance sometimes makes it difficult for religious institutions to serve the needs of schoolchildren by providing charity or other programs.

Lane’s children, 11-year-old JJ and 9-year-old Makayla, are homeschooled, but she said her work as president of the Jonesborough Area Ministerial Association at its food pantry showed her some of the specific needs of the area’s school-aged children.

Lane and her husband, Joe, moved with their kids to Jonesborough five years ago when she was appointed to her post at the church.

She said she and Joe, who served in the Navy, then retired early from the U.S. Postal Service, share the teaching duties — and most everything else — at home.

Homeschooling allows the family more time together, something Lane said was extremely essential for the children’s upbringing.

My mom philosophy is to spend as much time as possible with them. So many people get too busy doing too many things and don’t spend enough time with their children,” she said. “Eighteen years goes by really fast and then they’ll be gone. It’s important to make sure they know you love them no matter what. There’s nothing they can do to make me not love them.”

Lane was nominated as a Mother of the Year by Diane Roche, another Jonesborough resident and the 2016 recipient of the Tennessee Mother of the Year award.

Roche said Lane’s service in the community, at the ministerial association, her leadership role in her daughter’s Girl Scout troop and with the church, impressed her so much that she decided to nominate her.

Lane embodies the strong character traits sought after by the American Mothers organization, Roche said, and she’s glad Lane was recognized for all her work.

In addition to the awards gala in April, Lane will also reap the perks of being the state’s best mom in July, when she rides in a convertible in Jonesborough’s July 4 parade.

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