Thanksgiving Gratitude - My Amazing Hubby

Real Estate Agent with Savvy + Company (704) 491-3310 228209

Thanksgiving Gratitude - My Amazing Hubby


As many of you know, my secret to success started many moons ago...


Celebrating ActiveRain Milestones

In my former life, I proudly served as a Registered Nurse in the Trauma Operating Room at a top-tier, Level 1 trauma center here in Charlotte. During my downtime (when my trauma OR didn’t have a patient in it), I often helped out in the Recovery Room (PACU). It was there that I crossed paths with one of the hospital's Vice Presidents, leading to an exciting opportunity. I became one of the first six nurses chosen to establish a new home care facility. To my amazement & delight, this facility grew into one of the most prominent in the Southeast, employing a large team of nurses, pharmacists, physical therapists and various medical professionals across multiple offices.

I never anticipated how this new home care facility would completely transform my life...


Every day, I journeyed extensively throughout the Charlotte area, caring for patients with a diverse range of illnesses. As one of only four chemo-certified nurses, I began managing a specific quadrant of the city during the weekdays. On weekends, we rotated on-call duties, which meant traveling across the entire region again! This role in the growing business was so exciting - I absolutely adored my job and my patients.


A good friend who coordinated our schedules handled the patient assignments for the nurses. During a casual conversation one day, she expressed frustration about not having a nurse to care for a patient who lived near me. She couldn't assign them to me because my patient load was already at its maximum. However, after a couple of persuasive phone calls, I managed to talk her into giving me the assignment. It was close to home and she needed the help; I was ready to handle any repercussions from the nursing director about my increased workload. After all, what was she going to do? Fire her hardest working nurse for taking on one more patient?!! 🤣



The patient in question was Ray Maxwell, a quadriplegic requiring a straightforward post-operative dressing change. His case didn't involve oncology or HIV, which were my areas of expertise at the time. For me, Ray was a comparatively easy patient to care for.

Our appointments were set daily at 2:00 PM for his dressing change. During these sessions, we'd engage in delightful conversations and quickly developed a strong friendship. I scheduled him as my last appointment each day, conveniently aligning with the location of the JCC, where my boys, then aged 3 and 4, were in 'pre-school' while I worked.


Since Ray was my last scheduled appointment of the day, we often spent extra time chatting until it was time for me to pick up my boys. Impressively, Ray worked full-time at Bank of America, drove an accessible vehicle and lived a fully independent life despite being a quadriplegic. I fondly referred to him as a 'super quad'!


He recovered swiftly from his surgery, and once I had 'discharged' him from my care, he wanted to express his gratitude by inviting me to dinner. Little did I know, that was the first day of the rest of my life, as they say!


When Ray entered my life, I was a single mom, perfectly happy raising my two toddlers on my own. Honestly, I had completely given up on men. My mind was set: no more dating and certainly no thoughts of remarriage. But Ray, with his charm and incredible wit, completely turned my world around. He's not just fun, but also kind, gentle, romantic – an all-around amazing man. He met my boys and it was mutual love at first sight between them too!

Ray & Debe

After dating for a bit, Ray and I tied the knot and we've been living our own version of happily ever after ever since! Ray is absolutely my hero and a huge influence behind my career shift. He grew concerned when I regularly gave out our home phone number to patients (this was in the days before cell phones), leading to calls at 3:00 a.m. and me dashing out to help, only to return just in time to send the boys to school and start my day anew. He lovingly urged me to stop working, so eventually, I 'retired' from nursing. But retirement didn't suit me for long, and that's when I embraced a career in real estate, a decision I've never regretted!


Holidays at the Maxwell House

Ray is the epitome of selflessness and thoughtfulness, always putting others before himself. He's been an unwavering support for me and the boys. From never missing a soccer game, band concert for Matt, swim meet, to every basketball game (and Ryan had no shortage of those, playing year-round AAU), Ray's been our constant cheerleader. He even took over my cheering duties while I hustled through numerous real estate deals in gymnasiums across the state!


As time flew by, our boys grew up and left the nest, with the last one departing amidst a really tough real estate market. I kept my nursing license active for years, diligently completing my CE courses. I worked hard for that degree and wasn’t about to let it lapse, even though I had absolutely NO plans to return to nursing!


The coming years were crucial, not just for the survival of my real estate business, but more so for ensuring my boys could continue their college education. During this period, Ray began facing health challenges related to his paralysis, leading to an early retirement from BofA. With the luxury market plummeting, I found myself needing to rapidly adapt and revise my business strategy - almost daily.


Throughout his health struggles, Ray's support never wavered. He offered advice when I sought it, but more importantly, he remained a beacon of positivity, always cheering me on despite our shared apprehensions about the ongoing Great Recession. He had a way of easing my worries while quietly shouldering his own. Even when I closed a modest deal, I'd say, "It's not much, but it's something until the next one." Ray would always respond with enthusiastic encouragement, "Honey, this is exactly what we need – we're good!" His unwavering spirit of support truly made him my biggest cheerleader in life.

Admittedly, my past 'business habits' with regards to my corporation’s bookkeeping - well, I’ve always been hands-off with that! Ray's been our go-to guy for both our business and personal finances. Yep, I was that wife who blissfully sailed through life/marriage without a clue about our financial state, just getting the occasional verbal update from him. And honestly? I was completely cool with that arrangement. I think it was a stroke of genius (or maybe divine intervention) that Ray was at the financial helm. In retrospect, I'm actually relieved I wasn't in-the-know!


The beauty of "out of sight, out of mind" really shone during those tough market times. With Ray as my personal cheerleader, keeping any financial worries to himself, I could laser-focus on my business without distraction. I became a whiz at short sales, primarily thanks to ActiveRain and a handful of short sale experts who taught me the ropes.

I held 25-30 listings at all times and had many, many clients who were on the brink of bankruptcy. Some were quite close and in order to allow these clients to short sale their homes, in the end, I didn’t charge commission on some of them. I couldn’t bare to see them go into bankruptcy and not be able to purchase a home for 7-10 years.

During these times of me ‘donating’ my commissions, Ray knew all too well that if I'd been aware of our exact financial situation (not bankruptcy but not quite the comfort zone we were accustomed to either), it would've thrown me off my game. It was not until 2013, when the market shifted (for the exceptional), that Ray opened up about his concerns and the tight, carefully managed budget he had orchestrated for us.


In 2013, it dawned on us just how much my business had flourished, especially in contrast to others that had shut down. We attribute this significant growth largely to our commitment to giving back to those in need and steering clear of greed.

I also teamed up with a fantastic real estate coach, and guess what? They insisted I do a personal budget and a P&L EVERY SINGLE MONTH. Talk about a game changer! It pushed me to be in the loop about where our personal finances stood and to keep a finger on the pulse of my business's financial health. But let me tell you, during the recession, being in the dark was truly a blessing in disguise! On the flip side, it's pretty awesome to be in the know now. And the cherry on top? We managed to get both our boys through college! It's hard to believe how much things have changed for them since The Great Recession - now they're parents themselves! Time flies, right?



My hubby is still my number one fan! He’s not just a whiz with finances but, also a tech guru who expertly walks me through our website management and online marketing. He won't touch property descriptions, snapping those stunning photos, videotaping, social media magic and of course, my ActiveRain blogging adventures!! He is my eagle-eyed proofreader though, catching typos on my property descriptions and on my blog when and if he reads my posts.

He's the wizard behind managing both our business and household finances and I am HIS biggest cheerleader when it comes to that…and all things Ray, of course!


Team building dayWe hosted 3 local real estate teams in our home for "Winter Wine & Visions" - Ray is displaying our team's vision board.


Ray is my biggest cheerleader - he's the family's biggest cheerleader too!  

Ray, the man behind my success

I am so blessed to have someone so special in my life!


© Debe Maxwell | The Maxwell House Group | | Thanksgiving Gratitude - My Amazing Hubby

Comments (76)

Dr. Paula McDonald
Beam & Branch Realty - Granbury, TX
Granbury, TX 936-203-0279

I didn't know about this part of your story and it is amazing. Thank you for sharing this with us. You are a special woman who we adore here in the Rain. We appreciate all that you do for us on this platform. 

Nov 27, 2023 03:02 PM
Diana Zaccaro Broker Associate
Tropical Beachside - Cocoa Beach, FL
"The Accidental Blogger" Cocoa Beach, Florida

What an incredible story! This reads almost like a real life fairy tale with a happy ending! You and Ray were obviously made for each other and meant to be together!


Nov 27, 2023 08:03 PM
Debe Maxwell, CRS
Savvy + Company (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC

Hi Ginger Harper! Thank you so much for your kind words!

Nov 27, 2023 08:57 PM
Debe Maxwell, CRS
Savvy + Company (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC

Hi Sheri Sperry - MCNE®! Thank you so much for your wonderful comment! For sure, I had no control over what happened - as I had been SO determined to be in control and NEVER find romance again! Thankfully God had a plan for me and I am so very thankful for that!

Someone else mentioned that photo and I forgot to mention that I did not coordinate it that way - it just happened! He picked out his clothes two nights before the wedding and I picked mine out separately. It wound up being a perfect match.

Yes, I knew that about you and I am in that same tissue-holding Hallmark lover boat too!

Nov 27, 2023 09:04 PM
Debe Maxwell, CRS
Savvy + Company (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC

Oh, thank you so much, Dr. Paula McDonald/, Your kind words mean so much to me! 

Nov 27, 2023 09:06 PM
Debe Maxwell, CRS
Savvy + Company (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC

Despite my 'fighting it,' I believe you are right - we were meant to be together, Diana Zaccaro Broker Associate! Thank you for your sweet comment.

Nov 27, 2023 09:07 PM
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher
Ray seems like such a special magical person that you only see it once in a lifetime but you really feel like something otherworldly is going on if it’s the right person. :)
Nov 27, 2023 10:22 PM
Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP
Selling Homes Changing Lives

Dear Debe Maxwell, CRS - To my knowledge, there is no Adversity Training or Degree to finish and complete to say to yourself, and put out to the Univeerse, Okay, I'm ready, willing, and able to take on adversity....give it to me....pile it on... I am ready... I am woman...I am ready to roar and make life happen for myself and my boys. 

Thank you for being transparent, vulnerable, and sharing the truth about your Story of giving back to patients in need, determination to single handedly raise two boys, keep your promises to the oath you took when you became a Registered Nurse, and never giving up on love. You survived through your own adversities and met an angel who gave you the legs you needed to achieve your destiny and wings to fly successfully into the world of Real Estate. Somehow, in between the chapters of your life, you embraced love and he did too.

In this story, there is no antagonist, just two heroes who fell in love with each other and did the best you both could for two little boys who looked up to you and trusted both of you. They also survived their own challenges thanks to parents who became their greatest cheerleaders of their life. And you did it all for each other and them.

You found your strength and courage to trust your soul mate and he took on a big load too. Together you are one. And yes, you have gratitude every day, not just on Thanksgiving Day. 

Your story about your life is riveting, transparent, hopeful, and inspiring. Keep going! God isn't through with any of you yet.  

Nov 28, 2023 03:00 AM
Doug Dawes
Keller Williams Evolution - 447 Boston Street, Suite #5, Topsfield, MA - Topsfield, MA
Your Personal Realtor®

Good Morning Debe Maxwell, CRS 

I just read your post. Your story is a witness to what the Bible teaches about marriage.

In Proverbs 12:4 "An excellent wife is the crown of her husband..." meaning, like the crown on a King's head, you signal the world that your man is to be honored and respected. Proverbs 31 extols the virtues of a godly woman. Congratulations to Ray & you for your witness on marriage.

Nov 28, 2023 09:20 AM
Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543
Realty ONE Group Advocates 484-237-2055 - Downingtown, PA
Selling the Main Line & Chester County

What an awesome post, love the photo of you both as well. 

Nov 28, 2023 12:23 PM
Katina Hargrove 352-551-0308
Stake Your Land Realty, Inc. - Eustis, FL
Broker/Owner, SFR®, e-PRO®, GRI, AHWD, REALTOR®

Debe Maxwell, CRS 

You look so sweet and so happy, what a blessing, enjoy your happy years.

Nov 28, 2023 02:59 PM
Debe Maxwell, CRS
Savvy + Company (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC

Oh my gosh, Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP, I am sitting here with tears in my eyes! I think I need YOU to write my book! Oh my, I don't even know where to begin! 

As a single mom too, I know you know what that challenge was for me; you never want any harm done to anyone you love and it's worth never finding a soul mate to be sure they are out of harm's way. Our children relied on us and they knew they only had their mommies who served as BOTH parents. I was in that 'mode' and absolutely fine being there! I had no idea what God had in store for me.

I'm so glad that you found our story hopeful and inspiring. I love sharing it with those who will listen because I so want others to know that there is always hope, always.

Thank you again for your oh so generous comment! 

Nov 28, 2023 06:11 PM
Debe Maxwell, CRS
Savvy + Company (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC

Oh, he is definitely that 'magical' person in my life, Laura Cerrano - everyone needs one of those people in their lives!

Nov 28, 2023 06:12 PM
Debe Maxwell, CRS
Savvy + Company (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC

Thank you so much for your beautiful comment, Doug Dawes! We have been so very blessed and I am very aware of that!

Nov 28, 2023 06:14 PM
Debe Maxwell, CRS
Savvy + Company (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC

Thank you, Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543! That's one of my favorite videos too! I fell several years and have a long scar on that arm that is showing and I can't believe I didn't notice that scar until I posted the photo here! It's a BIG picture! LOL  

Nov 28, 2023 06:16 PM
Debe Maxwell, CRS
Savvy + Company (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC

Thank you so much, Katina Hargrove 352-551-0308! We will always be happy as long as we can be together! He makes me smile every day and that is what I think is key to a happy marriage! 😉

Nov 28, 2023 06:17 PM
Katina Hargrove 352-551-0308

Debe Maxwell, CRS 

Yes, I agree with you, my husband makes me laugh everyday, we been together since 1981🙂

Nov 29, 2023 05:39 AM
Lise Howe
Keller Williams Capital Properties - Washington, DC
Assoc. Broker in DC, MD, VA and attorney in DC

We are so lucky to have real estate. It has educated both of my children and paid for a beautiful wedding.   We all know how much Ray means to you - and we are so appreciative of you sharing your story with us.  You are both blessed with the good fortune of having each other. 

Nov 29, 2023 07:46 AM
Wanda Kubat-Nerdin - Wanda Can!
Red Rock Real Estate (435) 632-9374 - St. George, UT
St. George Utah Area Residential Sales Agent

Love can come calling at any time, on any given day. Like you, Debe, I was a single mom, working to support my two little boys, and unexpectedly, while I was closing on my house, along came Mike. Of course, it took me seven years to say yes, but we have been together ever since. You, Ray and your boys are so very blessed and they keep coming! 

Nov 29, 2023 01:25 PM
Paul S. Henderson, REALTOR®, CRS
Fathom Realty Washington LLC - Tacoma, WA
South Puget Sound Washington Agent/Broker!

I think both you and Ray are the lucky ones to have found each other in such a way that fulfilled what both of you needed in life; you are my heroes, Debe 🙂

Nov 30, 2023 03:13 PM
Jan Green - Scottsdale, AZ
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

You both found each other at a unique time in your lives.  Wow!  Really enjoyed reading your post and so happy for you!  Having your own cheerleader is truly a gift!  Congratulations!

Nov 30, 2023 07:50 PM