Merry Christmas from the Maxwells


Twas a few days before Christmas, when I brought my laptop into the living room and turned on the sparsely decorated newly erected tree, to start my letter. Sleigh bells are ringing – hey wait it’s unseasonable warm and rainy, and the ringing is just my tinnitus.  The cats, well yes, they can be counted on for a long any-season nap.

Christmas isn’t really about all that anyway. I plan to savor the true meaning and the greatest gift of all- Jesus who offers everlasting life with Him to any who accept that gift. I look forward to standing before Him and of course getting to see all of our friends and family who’ve passed that had accepted Him. What a gift to spend eternity with Jesus and to see our loved ones we miss so much.

I love getting your Christmas cards, photos and letters, even those of you I connect with during the year.

Christmas 2015cats

In March our little Trinity had the first of three seizures that we saw. Extremely scary and still with no known cause. I pretty much stopped leaving the house unless my hubby was home to watch her. I still have the floor padded in several places. Thankfully she was weaned off the phenobarb because we didn’t have our girl while she was on it. At this point I’m wondering if it’s more common than most people know, because had I not been home and seen them- we’d have no idea they happened. My heart still jumps into my throat whenever I hear something odd.

Trinity’s seizures caused me to do two things- and us to change our 25th anniversary plans. One I let my hair start growing out for the first time in about twenty years simply because I didn’t want to leave the house to get a haircut. It’s not quite the same color as it was last time 🙂 Two, I felt compelled to write another book after comments were made to “just put her to sleep”. I started with an eBook in June followed with a paperback in August. You Had Me at Meow; Considerations Before Adopting Your Cat. It’s not about seizures, it’s about responsible pet care. I put Skeamer on the cover. See more

For years we talked about going to Alaska for our 25th anniversary . Then Trinity got struvite crystals. Trinity and Tyler can’t eat the same food. It’s too much to ask someone else to mess with for a long trip. We dialed it back to a trip to Alabama, New Orleans and Texas. Then the seizures hit the month before and we ended up running 5 minutes away for a quick dinner. My hubby is a very understanding man.

I’m still enjoying designing book covers and product photography. Nice when you like your work. I won a t-shirt from Our State magazine by winning first place out of 17,000 submitted for an elk photo. Just this week hubby walked in with my cardinal photo on the cover of WNC magazine. Oddly I didn’t win the judged contest but sure enough my photo was right there on the cover anyway, and they sent me a few copies. I’m just thrilled by that. BTW you can still vote in people’s choice. For all of you who have taken the time to vote on photos over the years- thank you.  I wish all contests were voted on by judges instead of by people’s choice so I didn’t have to bug you to go vote.

I led the World Wide Photo Walk again this year and had a record high number of people sign up then a record low number attend because of the massive amount of rain and flooding. It’s world wide- hence the name so if you enjoy meeting like-minded people look it up for next fall.

In July we enjoyed a family picnic at Hooker Falls which is in the movie Max. Hubby and I continue to hike when time allows, and found “new to us” waterfalls again this year. We walked to the abandoned airport at Dupont and later learned it along with other places at Dupont are in Hunger Games, and The Last of the Mohicans. It’s a beautiful place we live! In October we drove an hour to see a bear shadow in Cashiers. I think my husband was wondering about driving that long just to see a shadow but we like to go for fall drives regardless. We went to see the Chattahoochee elk in fall too during rutting season. We were in the wrong place for most of the time but now we know where to go. Some of the younger ones kept coming closer to vehicles and people. At least one elk was put down in the past for too much human contact, and we didn’t want to be any part of the reason one would lose it’s life so we kept driving. The close up pictures I took were all with a long zoom.

When we go on vacation I’m apt to get up early for a sunrise photo. In October I went with our Land of the Waterfalls camera club for my first ever sunrise photo on the Blue Ridge Parkway and I want to do it again. We didn’t have clouds but I was still amazed at how breathtaking it was. When I left the house it was really cold and by some odd weather fluke it was warmer in the higher elevations.

In November we saw Catawba Falls and discovered we had to cross the Catawba River several times. I’m not as talented as my other half, who rock hopped. I took off my boots and waded across. It was deeper than I thought when I started across, but at least me and my camera didn’t end up underwater. We had to cross a wet downed tree to actually see the falls. Hubby was willing to walk that far and not see the falls because he wasn’t sure I could cross it. Then a younger couple came by and didn’t even hesitate to walk it – so we went too.

Sometime over the summer we talked about wanting new living room furniture and instead decided to build again and downsize. We just don’t need this much house. I started working on the plans and began listing stuff for sale on my website, Craigslist and eBay. I keep adding to it almost daily and haven’t even started on the big items. In mid October we called the surveyor. This week, the day after we finally got the completed survey, Greg went to get the permits. It’d be nice if this spring-like weather is still hanging around by the time we can break ground.  Not counting the rental, this is the first home we’ll be building without our dads here to offer sound advice. There are some things here that I’m going to have a hard time leaving, but life goes on and it’s time.

I enjoy hearing from all you and I cherish my family, and friendships. I hope each of you have a merry Christmas and a blessed, happy and healthy new year.
~ The Maxwells

[I tried to get a family  picture yesterday but it didn’t work well as the cats had other ideas. I’ll try again and add it if I get one with all four of us in focus]


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