A Walk to Think

My man and I decided last night that we’d opt out of sleeping late like a holiday morning woos you to do and, instead, head about 30 minutes from our house to the country and watch the sun come up. Usually anything we do our dogs do with us but this time we decided to leave them at home, long-faced and dejected. Sometimes you just need to be alone and hear yourself think. Or take a long pause to see if you can remember why you liked each other. We made us some coffee on the way out the door and poured it in a small thermos. We grabbed a couple of lawn chairs and dragged them out to our favorite spot and sat without saying a single word. When you’ve been married as long as Keith and I, you come to expect that you’re going to have on seasons and off seasons and that, unless something’s going haywire, they’re neither one there to stay. My way of dealing with an off season is to talk it out and gnaw it like a bone into a toothpick till we’re back on or claim we are. Keith’s way is to run for his life and find the nearest dead zone for his cell phone. Both approaches have served us well enough. After all, we have raised two children to adulthood together and fallen head over heels in love with two grandbabies and have no plan at the present to see a lawyer. This time we just decided to do something new. Keith didn’t run and I didn’t talk.Β  We just sat side by side in a pair of lawn chairs and listened to the woods.

I heard a lizard scurry over some dead leaves. Birds sang morning songs. Frogs croaked. The trees creaked and stretched like we woke them out of a dead slumber. A squirrel darted from branch to branch looking for breakfast to go. It reminded me of myself after about three cups of strong coffee. Everything else was moving slow and easy. Tiptoeing really. It was so quiet that I heard an oak leaf detach from a limb way over my head and I watched it fall to the ground in no big hurry at all. The morning sun glistened on the nocturnal masterpiece of a long-legged writing spider.

Wild lemons weighed down the branches of a small tree and just looking at one made the glands in my mouth squirt. It was too early for lemons, wild or otherwise.

Keith and I go to the country sometimes just to remind ourselves of things we have in common. So many of our likes and tastes aren’t only different. They scare the other half to death. They’d never take each other to lunch and, when we go, we have to go without them. We are reminded all the time that we met accidentally, naturally speaking, and married impulsively. But we both dearly love to be outside and to take really long walks and talk about almost nothing. This is one of our favorite spots on this particular country trail. It’s a clear little lazy creek that smiles in the sunshine but grows fangs in a storm, pulling trees from their roots. Maybe that’s Keith and me, too.

But, 31 years later, I still usually follow right after him. On level ground, he always takes the lead, especially on this country trail where the person in front has to swipe one spider web after another or wear them home. On mountain hikes, I take the lead because…well, because, that’s where I’m a beast. He claims it’s the altitude and that I can breathe thin air better than he. I choose to think I’m a hiking fiend…with a bad knee and a herniated disk. Right after this picture, I heard leaves cracking right at my feet as we stepped over an old rotted log. I glanced down expecting to see a big lizard and caught a solid, eye-popping stare at what my man claims to be the biggest copperhead he’s ever seen in his life. May it rest in peace. Lord, have mercy. I do not know why Keith Moore and I can’t seem to do life apart from snakes. It took about 15 minutes for my blood pressure to go back to normal.

When we got to this spot, Keith said, “Sit down over there, Liz’beth, and I’ll take your picture.” Dutiful wife that I am, I did. He’s just learning how to take a decent pic with my I-phone. He doesn’t really have fingertips and that’s what an I-phone takes. The ends of Keith’s fingers are more like manly stumps. He’s really cute when he’s trying though. Keith looks out of place with mini things. It’s not that he’s so big. He’s about 6 feet, 210 pounds. It’s just that his outside is upsized by his insides. Anyway, here’s his wife. She really doesn’t love early morning country humid hair but blogs are for the honest. Not for the proud.

One of our favorite things on this piece of Texas countryside is this old, broken down deer blind that marks the spot where one couple years ago commemorated their heavy crush with a can of spray paint. I don’t doubt it doubled as a kissing blind about that same time. About this time on our walk, my man and I were feeling a little less off. Sometimes all it takes to find some fresh affection is a willing recollection. Like B + K.

Well, thanks for taking a stroll with me, Sister. Don’t make anything serious out of this harmless chatter. When you’ve been married as long as we have and you have Moore feelings than normal, life is one big, wonderful, gnarly twisted knot of off and on again. But make no mistake. It’s a knot.


468 Responses to “A Walk to Think”

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  1. 201
    Erin says:

    Thank you for sharing that. What a peaceful read for this morning. I felt as if it were me there with my husband. Actually, yesterday evening, we went ginseng hunting. It was so awesome to walk through the woods and see God’s creation. Although I don’t have the best footing when we’re on the steep places, I was loving being with him and HIM. And, I saw two of the coolest things! I saw a tree that looked like a potbellied stove. (no joke!) And, I found my first ginseng plant all by myself! God is so good!

  2. 202
    heather says:

    Thanks for keeping things real. We of course have had our share of off moments after 16 years of marriage(we eloped after 6 months of knowing each other.) It has been the shear grace and sustaining power of Jesus. We should have been a stastic according to why most marriages fail-financial trouble. It seems like we have been plagued by it for some reason or other. Anyhow…God has been so faithful keeping our marriage alive and well and never missing a beat despite our circumstances.

  3. 203

    Love this blog entry, Beth! Ups and downs are normal, and I, too, am married to someone whose gifts and interests are largely polar opposites of mine. In the areas where we do have commonalities in hobbies, I often feel competitive because he’s so darn good at everything he does. But I’m so grateful for him and our marriage. Nice quiet times – w/o snakes, thank you very much – remind us of the sweetness.

  4. 204
    Casey says:

    thank you for sharing that…i was a bit out of sorts with my own man and have a hard time finding my way back to “peace” at times. This post inspired me to (through extreme frustration) to put it aside and bless him.

  5. 205
    Debbie says:


    Thank you for letting us see the real you too. I’ve been married almost 25 years and we are in, I don’t know what you’d call it. but I so “got” what you were saying. It makes me feel less alone to know others go through the same things and that it’s normal. Society today makes me feel like there should be fireworks all the time and the reality is there’s not. I love my man dearly and we are committed to each other but life takes it’s toll and day to day “stuff” gets in the way of the big romance sometimes. I appreciate this post so much.

  6. 206
    Jennifer says:

    Thank you for this post as my husband and I are struggling through and incredible off season. As you often say, you certainly wouldn’t waste a prayer on us! Thank you for your ministry. I don’t think you’ll ever know this side of heaven what it has meant to me and this post is a part of that!

  7. 207
    Kristy says:

    I love you Beth for being real. For saying what we all deal with. Thank you for over and over in my 10 yrs. of being a Christian – showing me what it looks like to walk through this life πŸ™‚

  8. 208
    Anna says:

    Isn’t it the truth that married life is on and off again. I like to call it a roller coaster, sometimes your up and sometimes your down, but we take this ride together. I loved reading about your walk together and I long for the day my husband and I will do such things. For now though, we have 5 kids 8 and under, we are too busy raising them and don’t have a good support system, so time away rarely happens. We are thankful though that we have 5 blessings and we are content to steal moments of alone time when we can. Like locking our door for 15 minutes and pretending like we are really alone. πŸ™‚

  9. 209
    Hanna says:

    It is so nice to hear of your ‘quiet’ times. I have 2 teenage daughters and quiet time is far and few between. One of our favorite things is waking up before the sun rises when we are at the beach. We sit straight up in bed, look out the windows of the beach house at the foot of our bed, and watch the sunrise and not say a word to each other. Then we just fall backwards onto our pillows and fall back asleep. Even though we haven’t said a word, we have said all that needs to be said. We also, when we have disagreements, may not be talking and we both go to bed and he slides his foot over to mine and I know everything is going to be all right. Funny, the little things. Sometimes they are th biggest things of all.

  10. 210
    Rhonda says:

    Thank you Beth…..that was beautiful and hopeful : )

    My husband and I have 27 years together……growing……stretching and realizing that great marriages take a lot of perseverance and plain hard work………..sometimes just hanging on for dear life until a season passes. Even if we love each other dearly, the differences can drive a marriage to pieces. We’ve seen it too many times. So thanks for being a real example of a “unique, gnarly, but tight knot.” I know God is in the midst of that beautiful knot…..and that makes all the difference!

    Good Morning : )………..may God bless you magnanimously today!!

  11. 211
    maureen says:

    “…and caught a solid, eye-popping stare at what my man claims to be the biggest copperhead he’s ever seen in his life. May it rest in peace.” You crack me up.

    Found one of these darlings in our chicken coop a few months back. Same fate.

  12. 212
    GeeBee75 says:

    I also want to thank you for sharing. My husband and I will celebrate 31 years at the end of October. And we also go through times like that. In fact, this summer has been one of those times. We’ve been away from each other too much and some medical issues and issues with our kids. But I think we’re back to where we want to be. Still in love and enjoying being outside together.

  13. 213
    Suzy says:

    You know, there’s really nothing like God’s green earth and the smell of dirt and fresh air to really clear your mind and soul anyway — it gets the city/stress “cobwebs” out. Then priorities (and everything else) seem to fall right back in line.

    Good for you two!

  14. 214
    Yanna says:

    Praying that I make it to HFB tonight and my first live event. I am so excited. Looks like the strom is staying west of Houston. All the Siesta’s there, be safe driving.

  15. 215
    jennifer says:

    What an awesome read this morning…I saw you live for the first time in Richmond a couple weeks ago…you are truly an inspiration for this gal here!!!

  16. 216

    THANKS for being honest with us Beth. You are just a sister who needed to talk.
    Love the photos, and your morning hair looks a TON better than mine does. That early in the morning I would have a hat on.
    How big was the copperhead snake? I grew up chasing my younger sister with garden snakes. Maybe that is why she is a science teacher and has a pet snake in her classroom!

    Have a great day. Getting ready for simulcast at our church on the 18th. Cannot wait!

  17. 217
    Iris says:

    I won’t make to much out of it I promise, we’ve been walking it for 34 years and fully get what you are saying. Humid early morning hair and all.

  18. 218
    susan says:

    I love this post and the honesty of a real relationship. thanks Beth!

  19. 219
    Karene says:

    Dear Beth, Forgive me because I’ve already commented, but I notice how this has struck a chord in so many of us. I got to thinking of how we find you so relateable to our everyday lives, and what a model you and Keith are in honoring your vows, “through thick and thin.”

    Then I realized that the enemy must surely be working overtime in slinging arrows into your marriage. I mean, if he can cause dissension in your marriage, imagine how many people that can affect. Even those “off” times and disunity with Keith can take your concentration away from unity with God as you prepare your studies and books.

    So glad you made time for that quiet time together yesterday. Although my husband would prefer that we be quiet together more often, I too have found peace in not always “gnawing on the bone.” And he’s learned to “chew on it” more verbally. So nice after all these years to enjoy our many differences. But I’m also sure we’ll have our off times again.

    Your post didn’t alarm me; just reminded me to pray more fervently for you and your marriage, as you minister to so many. Thank you for sharing your struggles with us. And those peaceful pictures! (I had no idea Houston had such beautiful countryside! Southern California girl born and bred, and have only seen the the long stretch of Texas on I-10, I believe. Miles upon miles of nothing. I guess I just assumed all of Texas was like that. How silly! Now all you Texan siestas will be chastising me πŸ™‚ )

    With love and gratefulness,

  20. 220
    Monica says:

    Beth, I love your authenticity. It’s what sets you apart and helps the rest of us feel normal. Thank you.

  21. 221
    Gayle says:

    Sometimes all we need to get back on track with God and each other is a little quiet walk in the woods away from the stresses of the everyday. We could do without the snakes though. Blessings….

  22. 222
    Abraham's Daughter says:

    May I add my “Amen” after celebrating our 38th. It took me a while to see the flow of our relationship and not get nervous when we were ebbing rather than flowing. And to be honest, I am the one who has the fickle emotions and he is steady. Sometimes I love him so much that it feels that my heart will just pop…then there are those days that I could sell him for a nickel. But most days I just thank the Lord for His plan of joining these two lives into one.


  23. 223
    Kayla Moore says:

    Thanks for sharing!

  24. 224
    martie says:

    thanks for letting us stroll with you πŸ™‚

  25. 225
    Alice says:

    What a blessing you are. My husband and I have been married for 41 years and I can relate so well to the need to reconnect and remember what the heck you saw in each other. We have a good marriage but as you know and stated we have on seasons and off seasons and it is so reassuring to hear that we are not special in this respect. Thanks for sharing … GOD is good and I am grateful for all he has graced us with and “you” are a special blessing and encouragement. May you have a blessed week.

  26. 226

    Yesterday I thought I may freak out if I had to repeat myself to my husband one more time. He had just returned from a five day trip to kansas where he was getting his cabin ready for hunting season and we had hardly talked to him w such spotty cell coverage. He is the type that could live on an island and be ok. We then decided after the minute things that are done on reality tv that we indeed should have our own reality show. We woud have some small crisis like we did yesterday when we were fixing a pipe that had burst in our home and add really dramatic music. I voiced out my part to say what the audience would say when I was being ignored: “oh there goes that jerk ignoring her again after a 5 day trip over his hobby.” He then said, “would you look at his wife she just nags and nags!” We laughed our heads off after that when we could agree on nothing else.

  27. 227
    Shelley Christensen says:

    Very sweet–thank you!

  28. 228
    donna wilson says:

    beth, i so enjoyed this . My husband Lee and I have been married 40 years this last may, and I understood exactly what you were saying. I am in the process of trying to adjust to the idea that he will be retiring in 10 years and is going to be home 24 -7 . that struck fear in my heart because our likes are so very different. i think communacating is very important to any relationship, and he thinks talking is overrated, i question everything and love to learn , he says at his age he knows what he needs to know, if my opinon is differerant then his , then i am saying hes wrong ect.. we have raised 3 wwonderful children and have 9 grandchildren, we love GOD and each other , he is a man of charector and honor.. thats a great base to remodel on . and your studies help remind of that.. i am currently doing believe him! with my 2 daughter, i ask God daily to bless you and thank him for bringing me to you for guidence.. you are my smile in this scary journey im taking to be ready in 10 years for the blessing that is my husband.. thank you beth… donna

  29. 229
    Amanda says:

    I very much would like to sit somewhere, someday and actually HEAR a leaf falling from a tree. That is profound to me in this very loud world in which we live.
    Lovely. And I’d be Moore worried about you and your man if you didn’t have off days….I’d be concerned you’d lost your doggone pulse!!!

  30. 230
    Tess says:

    Every marriage has it’s ups and downs. I am so thankful that we are in an up right now. Since I read the book “The power of a praying wife” we seem to have more ups now. Praise Jesus!

  31. 231
    Lynette says:

    Thanks for this. My husband and I of 19 years are in a little “off” season but I remember something you posted or said last year about marriage and it’s worth fighting for; that has kept me going and waiting for that “on” time again. I also really appreciated when you talked on Life Today about asking God to give you back those feelings when you are just staying in the relationship because of dedication. God has been faithful in answering that prayer. I love Him and my man!

  32. 232
    Rosie says:

    Seriously, God has given you an incredible gift. I was there with you. Not harmless chatter at all. A fresh breath and peaceful encouragement. Be still and know that I am God. AAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH. I thank God for you.

  33. 233
    Angela H says:

    I had just gotten back from such a walk w/my husband. Right down to a very unusual silence where there would have been a probing(on my end)very feeling-oriented lopsided dialogue as to what the current malfunction might be. Like my baby daughter, I am learning to walk in faith and heard the LORD’s gentle voice telling me before we left to seek to understand first. Thoughts of why are we together, what do we have in common? A million things of life demanding our making decisions together, little room for electives-but the fall wind and looking for intact acorns and some blessed silence. These things are precious. I am so glad to share the joy-even in the melancholy of an off season.

  34. 234
    Colleen says:

    Thank you for being honest. I believe that is why we love you. You are not afraid to be real and let God get the glory.

    My man and I woke up in Centerville, where we had taken our four boys and stayed at his parents’ ranch. After a quick breakfast, we piled our half-dozen into a Mule and found a dry tank. We propped an empty feed bag on the other side and let the little guys take turns shooting a .22 for the first time. We had a great time. Larry claimed that he might be able to win Top Shot on the History channel and I told him that he was the biggest, baddest youth minister that I have ever seen and, of course, I thought that he could win Top Shot.

    I suppose that we are in an “On” time. We have been married 11 years and have already noticed the On and Off cycle. Thank you for letting us all know that it happens to us all!

  35. 235

    Good morning, Beth! Alan and I get up several days a week and walk several miles around the densely brush populated landscape of our neighborhood. We are semi-retired in a lake community and are blessed to have so much nature to accompany us on our walks. Like you and Keith, sometimes we chatter, at other times we walk in silence. Even though it is a physical experience, we often reap many spiritual moments. Thank you for sharing your everyday experiences in these blogs. Since I began Bible study groups with you many years ago and attended Living Proof Live and simulcasts, I feel as if you are a personal friend. I continually pray for you, your family, and your ministry as you continue to follow God’s purpose for your life. I record “Wednesdays with Beth” on Life Today and look forward to listening to those studies each morning as I put on makeup and get ready for the day’s activities. (Yes, we have a flat screen TV monitor in our bathroom, and I don’t know how I ever lived without it!) God bless you, Beth. FROG…Fully Rely On God!

  36. 236
    Jill says:

    If you have ever seen the movie Giant, that is my husband and me to a tee. Bick Benedict and Leslie, two polar opposites full of passion about different causes, and yet crazy about one another. That is to say, Bick and Leslie sans the oil money.

  37. 237
    Susan in Dayton says:

    Love you, Girlfriend! Thanks for your honesty.

  38. 238
    Kiki says:

    Beautiful story and pictures.

  39. 239
    Patti K says:

    Love that post! Married 28 years and I totally get what you are saying. My husband and I agree on the big stuff…but are likes and interests, well that’s another story. Music, food, paint colors, TV shows, books…I could go on and on. Our thing to do is “take a ride”. We put on The Message on Sirius (the only station that we can agree on) and drive out into the oldest parts of Connecticut. It’s like beautiful neutral ground for the both of us. As Autumn approaches we will be doing that more often. Thanks Beth for keeping it real!

  40. 240
    carla says:

    I have been married 30 years and we live for our alone time which is little with children, work etc. We took a road trip from Iowa to Utah a few years ago and went the whole trip without ever turning on the radio. We talked about the most mundane things, and were just in awe of what God has created just in this country. People that fly across the country get there quicker but it is so awesome just to drive it, stop in out of the way restaurants and shops and meet the people of this wonderful country of ours. It was the greatest trip we have ever gone on, no lab, no kids just us. I highly recommend it. Glad you had such a special day for your Man, Beth.

  41. 241
    Debbie in CA says:

    Oh Beth, thank you so much, I (with tears in my eyes) needed this SO very badly this morning. ((((hug))))

  42. 242
    Rachel in Arizona says:

    Why is it that just when I have convinced myself that I’m the only one who must think/feel this way, your words give my thoughts legs and make me realize I’m not alone? I’ve been reading So Long Insecurity and if the Devil hasn’t pulled up one old memory or insecurity, he’s pulled up 1,000. My husband was out of town for a few days last week. Not only was I an insecure mess the whole time he was gone, I was just as crazy when he came back. The words from your book have been very timely.

    This post reminded me that even though things may seem “off” from our “normal” it doesn’t mean something’s wrong. Thanks for giving us the gift of going first. First to say the honest things. It makes it easier for us to say whatever it is that we’ve been holding on silently to.

  43. 243
    Joy Sawyer says:

    I really enjoyed reading about your early morning walk with your man on Labor Day. The pictures were great too! I’m divorced and live alone with my 3 girls, ages 5, 8, and 11. Two weeks ago I was thrown off my horse, and fractured 3 vertebrae, L2,L3, and L4, and 3 ribs. My friends think my horse saw a snake. Thank goodness I never saw it! I’ve done at least 5 or 6 of your studies, and am doing Beloved Disciple right now. I can’t ride or drive right now and was looking for your video for the group sessions 1 and 2, when I found your blog. Do you have those session available on a website or must I get the cd from my group leader?? I hope I’m well enough to see you September 18th at my church, First Baptist,Statesboro. Take Care and Please Keep Writing. You are hillarious, and such an inspiration to me.

  44. 244
    Lori says:

    As I read your post Beth, my man and I are packing for some much needed together time in the mountains of Mammoth California. We are looking forward to God’s creation to remind us of the important things of life!

    We also recently found out that we are going to have our first grandbaby to look forward to in February of next year! We are so excited!

    Thank you for sharing and letting us all know we are normal!


  45. 245

    Beth I love that you finished this with it’s a knot. My husband and I have been married 33 years, and oh how I know the on’s and off’s, but praise God for the KNOT.<3 πŸ™‚
    loved the stroll <3

  46. 246
    Mary Ann says:

    My daughter said to me yesterday, “I’m still trying to figure out how the 2 of you got together” We are unlikely in many ways but God has shown me so much through this relationship that I am thankful for. My man will lay down his life for us if called on. Enough said!

  47. 247
    Amanda says:

    Although I have been a reader of the blog since its inception, I have never responded with a post but the Lord really touched me today through yours. You stated that naturally speaking, you and Keith met accidentally and married impulsively. You and I have much in common–my man and I met accidentally and married impulsively; have two girls near the same ages who are as different from one another as night and day but joined together in heart; been married about the same number of years with many on and off seasons. My man runs from issues; I talk them to death; he and I are as different as night and day. And yes, the differences in our personalities scare each other half to death.

    In the flesh, staying married has been a fight. In the spirit, I know as you do, meeting my man was no accident and that He put us together for a purpose of His. Over the last 10 years I have come to a greater understanding of the bigger picture. Thank you for your honesty. Thank you for being willing to use the gifts God has given you to point others to Him, which in this case is your gift of writing. You don’t have all the answers; you are a voice describing reality in the trenches. Praise God from Whom all blessings flow!

  48. 248
    Laurel says:

    Thank you for being so open and honest with us on this blog! You are such a blessing to me! My husband is a highschool football coach and you can only imagine that we get to places like this during this time of the year….thank you for letting God use you to inspire me!

  49. 249
    KGM says:

    Thank you, Beth. Your post is helpful to one who is far enough into her marriage relationship to wonder about some things, but not far enough to have gained the kind of a wisdom you have shared. I am blessed by all of your teaching, even this teaching that speaks to my heart from some well written, honest words on a blog.

  50. 250

    I was awake half the night last night because I’m in an off patch with my man too, and tears are gathered in my eyes as I type. We celebrate 15 years of marriage in November, and love each other so very much. That seems to make the rough patches all the harder for some reason. Plus, we’re having to make some really hard choices in our life today, which intensifies things just a tad… My man is off to work now, and I’ve got to summon the wits to home school my hoodlums, and well… life goes on. I’m sure appreciative of your words though, because even though I’m fairly secure in my marriage, when you go through a rough patch, you wonder if anyone else out there has ever gone through a few, and come out the other side to tell the tale.

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