Dear Family and Friends!
Well today is Christmas Eve. I have started this letter several times since Thanksgiving trying to be proactive and get some of it done in advance. That was an exercise in futility. Every first paragraph didn’t quite cut it.. So I am starting over and just going to let it flow as it comes. Let’s start at the very beginning – a very good place to start.
2021 came in with myself and everyone I know kicking 2020 to the curb with a vengeance. We were more ready to see 2020 leave than any year in my history! We were hopeful about 2021. My church brought in the New Year with a church wide ZOOM because as you know Zoom is the new technology that by now everyone has had to embrace. If you haven’t by the way, text me – I have a couple of zoom tutorial videos that I made – but I digress (always trying to add value, wink-wink). We were a few hundred strong on the Zoom and as we flipped from screen to screen and yelled Happy New Year…the 2021 Year of Restoration began. We were ready to turn the page and start a new post pandemic chapter of our lives.
Certainly that was the plan, but as I type this letter we are in the midst of Delta variant, Omicron, booster shots and more. Instead of getting back to normal, we must see by now this is our new normal and there is nothing else to do but be as safe as you can and get on board. But no matter what the status of the pandemic, the post pandemic, the now pandemic – there is an omniscient God who is not caught off guard. He is still on the throne and still in control. As for me and my house, we will still believe the report of the Lord. I had a great year for my business. My coaching and consulting clients doubled this year. Not only that but each of them experienced success and growth in their own endeavors. There were new jobs, new books, new relationships, new mindsets and value added for many. I myself reached two of my goals and published by book Phenomenal Woman on AudioBook! It is on Apple as of a couple of days ago and will be in over 30 audiobook marketplaces by January 15. The other goal reached was the publishing of my “A Gurl with a PLAN” Journal and Planner!!! It will be available for purchase by the end of this month – ready for those 2022 visions, dreams and plans you have! My BFF Viv opened her store! Divine Thrift and Consignment at 114 W State St in O’Fallon if you are local! So proud of her! I have served my community more this year through my involvement with my first full year with East St Louis Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta, as well as serving with UCM and NTOSAKE partnering in great work in social justice. Isadore continues to be the administrator extraordinaire with the MDC Men’s Ministry and loving it!
As hopeful as we were, this year brought several huge losses to my family and my friends. More than ever before, we have been on the receiving end of condolences. On August 13th we lost my son-in-love Anthony Nicholas Carthan, Jr. He passed away tragically and took the wind out of us for weeks to come. Only 6 weeks from their first year wedding anniversary, our daughter Carmen was hit with something none of us could have imagined in our worst nightmare. He was such a loving, funny, and bigger than life addition to our family and we miss him so much. I am grateful to God for the incredible love story we are left with. I am grateful for the times we were able to share with this amazing young man. He and Carmen created more memories in their short time together than most couples share in a lifetime. Rest in Peace Nick – we love you. In addition to this, my play mom Bernadette Moore – my BFF Vivian’s mother and best friend – passed away earlier this year. Since then we have felt her loss in more ways than one. Vivian and I traveled to Orlando during Mother’s Day weekend to celebrate mom at the beach while attending one of Carmen’s shows. It was relaxing and bittersweet. She would have loved that we did it and that’s why we did it. Additionally this year several members of my church passed away that devastated people I love and myself included. It is definitely a praying season! Finally, less than a week ago, I found out my sister Lacresha Moore passed away. She and I didn’t grow up together but I loved her and will miss seeing her on my trips to visit my Dad. So much loss, but the fact that I am able to type this letter and you are able to read it means that we have breath in our bodies and for that we must rejoice and continue to trust God in the process. There is much more for each of us to do. If you are reading you are capable of doing it – don’t waste another day. Life, as we have just determined, is too short.
Let’s turn toward what the Lord has done this year! For the Barton Illinois fam – each of us are driving new rides. Our grandson Cayelon had a one-car accident (he is fine); his car was totaled and now he is driving Isadore’s Buick. Isadore looked for himself a new car and instead blessed his WIFE with it – a 2021 Cadillac XT4! I was beside myself when I pulled up to the house and saw it sitting in the driveway and the delivery people saying this is your car from your husband! So then Isadore was blessed with my 2018 Rav (he originally bought that for him as well but ummmm somehow that became my car too. Look, just move on and quit judging me lol – let’s just say I have the sweetest hubby! Lastly, Charles had a one-car accident (he is fine); his car – the Red Rav - was totaled and now he is driving a 2018 Kia Sportage – his first car in his name with his payments! That’s what happens when you get full time employment with benefits – you have adulating status with a car note! So God is good even though we had some setbacks (accidents) God worked it out for our good. Lesson – get full coverage on your vehicles!
We were able to do a great deal of traveling this year as the world opened up again. I missed seeing people from not being able to travel as much or be in one another’s homes and social distancing and the like. CC and I went to Louisville several times this year to visit my mom and Kentucky fam. Had a great time connecting with family even it was just a hug and a kiss and a laugh or two. Vivian and I went to Orlando and I love the water – so that was everything! One full day I was simply OUTSIDE pool side, bugs and all, chilling and swimming (yes I can swim) and relaxing! We went to LA and New York for Nick’s services, and despite the occasion loved on one another and it was amazing time of family bonding with one another. Cameron and Cayla came to St Louis to visit a couple of times and we all hung out. We love being with them. Isadore and I did a staycation over in St Louis for our Anniversary (as I refuse to sleep at my house on May 30th) at the Hilton and had a great time. We also traveled to Baltimore for Father’s Day weekend. Carmen and Ron treated their dad to a weekend getaway that made our month! We were able to spend time with the Baltimore Peepons (kids) and see Carmen on stage. It was fantastic. I traveled to Kansas City to be with Carmen for one of her first shows back on the road after Nick’s passing. She was amazing and we had a good weekend. I was her stage and merch manager for the weekend. While in KC I was able to attend my bothers church, hear him preach a great word; and see my dad and sister before heading back home. Those times, even when brief mean a lot. I made Thanksgiving dinner this year and it was yummy for my family and our friends that stopped by. We had a good laugh and just relaxed watching Mrs. Minnie and Pastor Percy on New Life Tube. The one place I was not able to get to this year was Clarksville. But rest assured family it is on the list for 2022. We are heading to Phoenix for Christmas weekend and I am geeked to see our West Coast family – it’s going to be a weekend to remember!
So as we bid 2021 farewell and turn our attention toward 2022 – let us have great anticipation and expectation for OUR BEST YEAR YET. I am trusting God and believing that it will be everything we hope for. At church it is our year for Intentional Living and I am looking forward to just that. I am excited about the future – yours and mine. Both Isadore and I will celebrate milestone birthdays in 2022– Save the Date for his 70th (the new 60 as it relates to my hubby looking like a whole snack) For his birthday party I am tentatively looking at May 14th. And on 12-22-22 I will be double nickel 55! I am honored to end this letter with a blessing for you and your household to have the merriest of Christmas’s and the Happiest New Year. As always – shoot me a text to let me know you made it to the end of the letter and I kept it short and sweet!!! Love you the most! Be blessed and be a blessing
618.593.3311 – cell phone
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Mailing address 921 Jenna Lee Lane – O’Fallon, IL 62269