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Dear Readers and faithful friends,

After a number of years of wonderful blogging, this blog has effectively become dormant - except for occasional updates regarding my book, MAXDOG. I have left this blog as a legacy to my dog and a place of sanctuary where we can reflect upon his life. Take your time, peruse the pages spanning Max's 18 months in cyberspace. Feel refreshed and uplifted because his story is an amazing one of..."LIVING LIFE TO THE MAX!"
My activities have now moved on to my new blog entitled "LIVING LIFE TO THE MAX". Please join me there where you can read about my family and canine companions. I also invite you to visit MAXDOG's FANPAGE on FACEBOOK. You can follow the specific links by clicking below:

* MAXDOG, the book: click HERE

If you would like to follow me on a deeper, spiritual level, then I invite you to visit my more personal blog:

May God bless you and thank you for following me!


Wednesday, December 9, 2009


(Please note that copyright is attached to this blogpost!)
(MAXDOG...in Christmas mode!)

(TOFFEE-DOG and our "prospective Vet"...in Christmas mode!)


About 5 years ago our family hosted two very gifted and endearing exchange students.
Jan was from Germany and Adam from Sweden. These two young boys, both aged 18 years at the time, spent an entire year with us in our home. They attended school with our daughters and became totally integrated into our family and life…indeed I will always regard them as my “Sons” !

Well, as you may expect, South African Christmasses are quite different from our Northern Hemisphere friends' festive seasons. Here, the weather is sweltering and very far from the snowy wonderlands we see across the blogs. Usually our decorations are simple and echo the culture of our wonderful land...


Gifts however usually vary from home to home and are generally determined by affordability.

Well, living in a new country can be quite daunting and a culture shock, so my boys sheepishly asked me that year…
”What do we get you for Christmas?”
Jan (the young German lad) explained to us that in his country, the gifts are usually ‘practical’ and based on improving the recipient’s lifestyle. Adam was more circumspect and inclined to go with the flow but he seemed to echo Jan’s sentiments.

As their ‘host’ mother, I always spoke openly - from my heart:

“Well boys,” I ventured, “How about buying me something that
My suggestion seemed to confuse them even more, so I took pains to sit them down and explain how I personally go about buying gifts…

“You see,” I explained, “when I shop for somebody I usually don’t shop for something in particular. I find it a lot more interesting and creative to wonder around the stores, looking at the items on display. Eventually I will find something that simply jumps out at me…almost saying;
“Buy me!”
Usually that item will reflect something of the person for whom the gift is intended. It may “feel” like that person and may say something about your relationship with that person!”

Well, the boys looked totally confused and left me grinning inwardly. I love making my children think and bringing out their emotional side, but this time my explanation probably added to their dillema. They left our conversation more confused than enlightened….
(Or so I thought…)

Well Christmas day eventually arrived and their package peered at me enticingly from under the Christmas tree.

I was aware of their sly innuendos and elbow nudges as I looked at my gift. A few days previously they had arrived back home from a Christmas shopping expedition, arms laden with parcels, their faces sporting smiles - which could "fit bananas in sideways."
“We found something that SPOKE TO US!”
they claimed, grinning widely.
“We are certain that it will SPEAK TO YOU too, Caryl!”

Well, I was really curious. Had I, at last, generated lateral thinking in these beautiful boys? The parcel was now on my lap. It was beautifully wrapped as only loving boys can wrap gifts. They had obviously spent an enormous amount of time on it and I was fascinated. Had I left it there on my lap, that day, and not opened the gift at all, its intention would have been totally complete!!!
…afterall, it’s the thought that counts, isn’t it?!!

But as I looked at their gleeful faces and their excited anticipation, I slowly unwrapped my gift. I knew the love that had gone into buying this special gift! I knew the hours of deliberation which had produced it and I felt their joy at their selection…


For those who may be confused, this is a fully functional little FM radio!!!

It can be tuned in to receive all the radio stations on the FM wavelength here in
It is beautifully and cleverly crafted - out of standard wire - and decorated with recycled materials.
My boys’ gift is one of the most memorable and beautiful gifts which I have ever received!!!
The thought and love that went into this gift remains unmatched.

(photo: Christmas 2008)

You will always be MY boys! I love you and will never forget you!
With lots of love from
(Caryl Moll)


Hamish Westie said...

Hi Caryl
What a lovely story - thank you so much.
For the record, I too like a present that 'speaks' to me. What I like it to be 'saying' is 'I am a truly delicious treat, and I invite you to eat me where and when you like, and there is more of me if you want....'
Cheers, H.

Anya said...

Very touching lovely Xmas story :-)
Thanks for sharing !!
I like you all with your christmas hats so FUNNY :-)
Have a wonderful day
Kareltje =^.^=

Cocorue said...

THAT is a sweet story and your boys must have loved you alot...such an interesting gift and the thoughts here really counted

you must be so proud of your 'prospective vet' and she's a doll

Maxi, i looove you and will you get rid of that saaaaad look...smile for moi please


Fernanda said...

I invite you to visit my blog.

houndstooth said...

Aw, what a sweet story! You definitely started my day off with a smile! Merry Christmas to you!

ScrapsofMe said...

What a great story! I bet they had to look and look for thtat pressie just to be so perfect. I love the little wire outline of Africa too. A Christmas gift that keeps on givng, you've given me a wonderful story.
Thank you,
Bonnie's support staff

ScrapsofMe said...

What a great story! I bet they had to look and look for thtat pressie just to be so perfect. I love the little wire outline of Africa too. A Christmas gift that keeps on givng, you've given me a wonderful story.
Thank you,
Bonnie's support staff

Ina in Alaska said...

What a sweet story! I love the little beaded elephant in your post too. Also enjoyed the cuteness overload post! I had internet issues on Tuesday and am just getting caught up!! Much love to you all xoxo

Heather and Ellie said...

That's the sweetest Christmas story ever! That's a cute little radio.

dewdana said...

What a lovely story and wonderful gift! I have become quite jaded about Christmas because here it is 2 months of being innundated with loads of retail junk that have no real sentiment behind them (other than a percieved obligation to get 'something' for everyone). It is nice to see a real heartfelt expression and truly unique gift (and recycled no less)! Thanks for sharing!

KB said...

That is one of the best Christmas gift stories that I've ever heard. I bet that you treasure that gift and always will!

I have to add that my husband and my dog R (a boy dog) were just looking over my shoulder. They spotted Tammy, and my husband covered R's eyes. He said that Tammy was gorgeous and NAKED (no collar), and we couldn't let R be distracted by such alluring photos! I laughed and laughed.

Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed your story!

Jake of Florida said...

One of my dear girlfriends, who sadly passed away earlier this year, and I always had this to say about the gifts we exchanged: we were walking through "wherever" when we saw this "whatever" with your name on it!!

So I loved your story. Actually, the radio looked as though it could have been made by your sons.

Wirey love from J and JH and hugs from me, Joan

Stella said...

Perfectly wonderful Christmas story, Caryl, and further you gave me something great, too. An idea for today's blog!!! Whee!

Jo and Stella

Deborah said...

That was so nice! I love the gift, it is perfect!!!
Thanks for sharing such a beautiful story!!

Draco and his Mom said...

What a nice Christmas Story to share with us. Merry Christmas to you and yours.

Augie and Ti's mom said...

Oh sniff sniff, that left me a little teary-eyed! What wonderful boys :)

TwoSpecialWires said...

That Christmas story is a nice example of what giving, loving, sharing relationships are all about. In the true Spirit of the holidays, you've brought people (and their pals) closer together. We are all individuals, one mankind, on one planet. Connections like this make it all more special.

Jake and Fergi xxoo

Asta said...

Youw Mom Cawyl is a bootiful hooman!! We loved that stowy and obviously she touched the heawts and minds of those two boys Jan and Adam gave hew something so vewy special it cleawly said love
smoochie kisses,ASTA
pee ess Max you and Toffee look adowable in Chwissmuss mode

Cloud the Wonder Dog said...

What a wonderful story, Max! We love your moms vacation photos, and your cuteness overload pics too! We missed you while you were gone!!!


Khyra The Siberian Husky And Sometimes Her Mom said...

What a pawesome story!

Tank woo fur sharing it!

Mom says I should paw that is her approach to gifts and khards - she has to feel it fur someone - she isn't happy to just 'buy' something fur someone!

Sometimes throughout the year, she'll make a mental note of 'something' she hears/reads from someone and then keep THAT in mind when shopping -

It is nice to see others are that same way!


The Thundering Herd said...

What a spectacular story and how appropriate for Christmas. My bet is that those two boys remember the Christmas as fondly as you do.

Ginger Jasper said...

Thats a truly lovely story. I think you will tearure that gift for ever. How wonderful.. I hope you are still in touch often, a year is a long time .. HUgs GJ x

Petey said...

Ahh, Max, thanks to you and your Mom for reminding us that the best gifts, the ones we remember and cherish and hold dear are not always the fanciest or the most expensive, but gifts filled with the pure joy of giving!

And that's the whole reason for the season, right?

Lots of love,


Kasha said...

Oh my goodnes Caryl! What a great post! Beautifully written and gives me something to think about with gift giving. Im so glad you and Max are doing good! Merry Christmas!
Kasha and Africa

Sheryl said...

I love hearing how other cultures celebrate the holidays. Thank you for sharing.

Clive said...

Hi Max

That is a great Christmas story - the best presents are always those bought with thought and meaning.

Your story was the perfect example of what Christmas should be all about.

love and woofs

kks said...

what a great story!
and to the future Vet....i'm so proud of you for going after your dreams, doing what you are passionate about = fulfilling life! you go girl! and thanks for checking in on my blog...i'm sure you enjoy my work blogs! every time i tell about my work, i think of you!
have a happy holiday season...and, oh, hugs and kisses to Maxdog!

Jyoti said...

What a great story! I'm sure you made a very positive impact on their lives.

Toffee and Max look very handsome in their Christmas get up!

Kira The BeaWootiful said...

Woooos MaxDog's Mom! We heartily agree with all you say, thank you for sharing your truly Magical Christmas story!
-Kira The BeaWootiful

dw said...

That is a great story! Thank you so much for sharing! I think you made an impact on them that hopefully they will carry with them forever! :)

Ms. ~K said...

A very unique gift and great story!!!
Love the last photo!

The OP Pack said...

Oh that was a great story!!!! And a gift you will NEVER forget and ALWAYS cherish.

Woos, Phantom and Thunder

Benny and Lily said...

Adorable Max!
Benny & Lily

The Army of Four said...

What a wonderful story!!!
Truly in keeping with the spirit of Christmas!

Tweedles -- that's me said...

Thank you for sharing that beautiful story. I try to listen for the speaking too. Sometimes its only a whisper- but it still spoke.
That was a wondeful, thoughtful gift from your sweet boys.
They really understood what you said and I bet they will never forget how to listen.
Your Christmas will still be festive- it just won't be cold.
We had 8 degrees this morning.
Burr frozen solid

Lorenza said...

Thanks for sharing your beautiful story!
I am sure your radio brings you great memories!
Kisses and hugs

Cheyenne -Millie said...

We likes seeing Maxdog with his Christmas hat!

Huskee and Hershey said...

What a lovely story.. thanks for sharing it with us. Kinds of reminds you what Christmas is all about.. not the price of the gift, but the thought that was put into selecting it.
LOVED the pics too... Big hugs to Max and little ones to Toffee..

Sam said...

What a wonderful gift and a wonderful story! I'm sure the memories that come with this gift are the best treasure yet. We wish you the best of Holidays to you and your family (including your sons!) and hope that you have many more memories like these!


Brindusa said...

What a nice story! Real smart kids! Many times we have to learn from younger people.

Maggie and Mitch said...

What a great story and what a cool radio!

Love ya lots,
Maggie and Mitch

Dream Valley Ranch said...

What a heartwarming story...and awesome radio :) Those lucky boys to have gotten a full year with you Caryl!
Happy holidays!

Joy said...

That is such a wonderful story. They were very thoughtful and clever boys!!!

Sunny,Scooter,Shamus&Jamie said...

How cool is that!!! it spoke to them and you in more than one way. Clever boys, hu? Great story.
Sunny,Scooter,Shamus & Jamie

ocmist said...

You are such a thoughtful and thought provoking person, Cary! Your love for life and those around you and for your animals, and homeland simply GLOW from what you share here. We are truly blessed by you and Max sharing your blog with all of us! Linda and the CCC (Country Corgi Crew)