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For every big surprise, Carter finds small fortune

By Johnny Jackson

Zeneth Carter received, in the last year, what she has aspired to obtain for the last 12 years.

She received a bachelors degree in Business Management last May after attending Clayton State University part-time, off and on, for the last 12 years. Earlier this month, she and her husband Derrick closed on a new, larger home in Stockbridge. And she was recently promoted from Human Resources Assistant to Human Resources Information Systems and Records Specialist at Clayton State, where she received her degree.

Last spring, Carter's mother and 15-year-old niece joined her already-five-member household. And she received them with open arms. When her mother Margaret Taylor fell ill from a stroke, Carter and her husband made a non-decision to have her join their home.

"She has always been there for me," Carter said. "She was strong when I couldn't be. It was like, hey, if you need us now, we'll be there."

She continued to describe her mother in some detail as the matriarch of the family. The image, she said, she sees herself. But she was hesitant to make the description.

"For the first time, I'm speechless. I'm a mother of three, and wife of ten years. I love them," she said of her husband and children Azari, 3, Zierra, 8, and Dreshonn, 12.

She described herself seeming much like Vivica A. Fox's character Maxine in the movie Soul Food.

"Like her, I'm very strong-minded and determined," she said. "I'm a very outgoing, talkative person."

She added that she and her husband never had their honeymoon. For other unexpected events, the couple have not been able to follow through on plans for a honeymoon the last several years.

"It's been one thing after another," Carter said, reiterating she would like to have a traditional wedding to renew her vows one day as their marriage was officiated by a justice of the peace.

Carter is the second youngest of nine children in her family. She is the baby girl and has always been the motherly type.

"I'm a mother first; I have that motherly instinct," she said. "Hobbies? I just don't have time for them. Sometimes things can be overwhelming, and everybody comes to me when they need someone to talk to. But sometimes it gets like, who do I talk to? That's where the Lord comes through, and I'm grounded again."