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On this day thirty-nine years ago, I made one of the best decisions I have ever made. I married Ray Notgrass. I had been twenty-one years old for twenty-five days and a college graduate for seven. I was not old enough or smart enough to make such a wonderful decision. I am thankful that God was looking out for me.

ray and charlene wedding photo
Hubby and Me, December 27, 1974

A friend recently talked to Ray and me about retiring from his second career, a career which involves making countless decisions. With tongue in cheek, he said that he thinks people are born with a certain number of decisions they can make and he thought he had just about made all of his. People can retire from a career of decision-making, but, in our marriages, we must keep making them minute by minute.

Thirty-nine years ago, we tied our knot tightly, but we have had to keep it tight every since. Every day since December 27, 1974, Ray and I have had to make the fresh decision to love each other. Both of us have had days when that has been easy and days when it has been hard. I beg you to keep your knot tied tightly. It is worth it.

Ray and I are still looking forward to our big family Christmas celebration with all the kids and grandkids early next week, but we have already been celebrating. We went to a wonderful Christmas festival with our son and his family when we visited them earlier this month. We went to see a Christmas play based on The Andy Griffith Show with my mother. This past Monday she went to her hometown to celebrate Christmas with my brother’s family. On Christmas Eve morning, we Skyped with our son and his family. That afternoon and evening and Christmas morning, we had a fun gathering at our house with our daughters and their families before they celebrated with their husbands’ families.

Still glowing with the memories of the celebrating we have already done and in eager anticipation of next week, Ray and I spent the afternoon and evening of Christmas Day alone at home. We worked together to get presents wrapped for our get-together next week, while watching “A Charlie Brown Christmas” and “It’s A Wonderful Life” and listening to the 2013 Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols on an Internet radio station. Ray read me the Christmas cards we have received while I finished up the wrapping.

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Hubby and Me, December 25, 2013

We had a wonderful Christmas afternoon and evening. It felt like we were young again and celebrating with just the two of us. There is marriage after homeschooling and rearing children. Keep making those hard decisions every day to keep your marriage strong while your children are growing up. Life with your husband on the other side of homeschooling can be really beautiful. And Happy Anniversary, Ray.

So they are no longer two, but one flesh. 
What therefore God has joined together, 
let no man separate.
Matthew 19:6, NASB

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