So, What Were You Doing 30 Years Ago??

Monumental anniversaries are powerful forces for so many reasons. They not only cause us to remember and, to what extent we are able, relive the big moment that originally stole the show. They also snap a quick shot of an era of our lives. Like most any other, a tangy cocktail of an era both sweet and bitter, both beautiful and terrible. Such is life. But several times in the course of a long stay, a wonder comes along that blankets the whole tumultuous season in a smiling sun’s rays.

Right about this time of day 30 years ago, I sat in the waiting room of my OBGYN’s office with one thing on my mind: I meant to have a baby that day or else. My man worked in the oil field with BJ Hughes and they were sending him off for a month in two weeks, just when she was due. If she was on time, I was on my own. BUT, if she had a little nudging, the four of us – Keith, Amanda (our nearly-3-year-old daughter and the biggest dream-come-true of my 25 year-old life), this new little creature that had swung on my bottom ribs like monkey bars for months, and I would have 14 days together. Those were the stakes.

High indeed.

So early that morning, my big sister, Gay, came to Victoria, Texas where we’d been transferred with BJ Hughes, and together we went on a brisk little – well, as much as I hate to admit to it – jog to very deliberately see if we could get some action going. There is absolutely nothing about this approach that I’d recommend to an expectant mother no matter how great with child she is. Those were the 80’s when the pendulum had swung WAY to the left and we were advised to do any physical activity in our pregnancies that we’d been accustomed to doing at the time we conceived. That was for normal people. Not me. Most women didn’t teach high impact advanced aerobics classes. What I’m recommending is this: sit down the moment you realize you’re expecting and get up when you head to the hospital.

Because here’s what happened: I trained up a child in utero in the way she would go and when she was born, she did not depart from it. She stretched, rolled, tumbled, jumped, lunged, and high kicked so wildly from five months’ gestation to full term that I lived nonstop at my maximum target heart rate particularly when I climbed into bed at night. I sang in the choir at First Baptist Church in Victoria and, in those latter days, my blue choir robe came alive like a 3-D illustration of the raging sea in Mark 4, only not once did Jesus stand up from the boat and say, “Please be still!” Or was that “peace be still”??

It was prophetic. That child would demand the training wheels off her bicycle two days before her 3rd birthday then ride off on it like she was born to be wild.

Because she was.

Dr. Mabry took one look at me, peered over the sheet draped across my swollen tummy and said, “Is your husband in town?”

“Yes, sir! As a matter of fact he is!”

“Good, because I’m about to break this water and put you in the hospital. This child is on her way.”

I’d asked God for a boy. In fact, I did it just right. I used all the biblical terminology. I prayed in faith without doubting and summed it up confidently with, “In Jesus’ Name.” I made sure I asked before conception so we could start out with the appropriate gender and God wouldn’t have to go to any extra trouble. I persevered in asking until the circle formed perfectly on the bottom of the EPT test tube then I sat back, smiled, claimed it…and, yes, named it: Brandon Keith Moore.

At seven months along, my OB nurse, good friend, and sonogram technician, said, “Beth, I’m telling you, I think this is a girl.” I went home undeterred, sat back on the couch and said to the Lord with utter confidence, “This is not hard for you. In fact, nothing is too difficult for Thee!” (Using proper King James English is always most effective for times such as this.) “Change it,” I chirped then got very still to see if I felt anything.


“It’s a girl,” I told Keith when he came in from work that night.

“Are you sure?”


“How do you know?”

“I just know. That’s what they told me at the doctor’s office. And I asked God to change her into a boy and He didn’t. I could tell. I could tell He didn’t, that is.”

Young, strong, tan, black-headed, right winged, and at the peak of machismo as a 26 year old man tends to be, Keith grumbled something then looked up at me and said, “Well, then, we’ll have a girl.”

Good. Good plan.

The loud speaker went off over the grounds of BJ Hughes calling Keith Moore to the telephone. The kind with the black curly cord that was actually attached to the wall. “It’s your wife,” his supervisor said. “She said she needs to talk to you right away.”

“Hello?” Sounding a little frantic.

“Hey! Wanna have a baby today?”


“Yes, today. My parents are on their way to stay with Amanda. I’m packing. You better come get me.”

And he did.

Mamas push their babies into the world and then just keep on pushing.

We think we know just what we want them to be and just what will make them happy and we push and push and push and push, red-faced, grimacing, and threatening our husbands who got us into this shape. We just keep doing the thing we were doing the hours and minutes before they were born.

And, thank GOD, sometimes it doesn’t work.

I suppose Melissa would be at the peak of her professional basketball career if she kept going where I was pushing. And I’d be chaplain of the team. And assistant coach. Or head coach.

But she’s always had a mind of her own.

A fine one. Like her big sister’s.

I gave my heart away 30 years ago today for the second time in my life. Totally. Withholding nothing. Complete abandon. Both times to squirming little creatures that didn’t even weigh as much as their Daddy’s career trout.

I sat across a white-linened table from both of them 2 days ago, sharing three desserts, coffee and teas and I got lost in them all over again. Lost in their laughter. In the color of their eyes. In the way they use words. And sip out of a cup. Such a flawed woman. Such an embarrassing past. So many insecurities. Secrets that make me nauseous. And yet there before me, grace welled up in two distinct heaps, like twins born three years apart. Twins who only look a smidge alike. Twins as similar as salt and pepper…as homemade peach-vanilla ice cream and pico de gallo. Twins only because they each broke into my fortress, shimmied down the side, and ran off with my heart.

We asked the waiter at the restaurant if we could sit by a window because we needed to keep an eye on my car. We were seriously certain someone would want to steal the clothes we’d just bought from Anthropologie. Yes, all three of us. Of course, the birthday girl got the most but the three Moore women have always liked to do things together. So, we all got presents.

Just like Keith, Amanda, and I did 30 years ago today.

That very day a pair of ocean green eyes opened to this beautiful and terrible earth and none of us who know her well have ever seen life the same again.


And, as for Keith Moore?? Well, he wouldn’t trade that baby girl for a world full of fine sons.

And, whatever happened to that professional women’s basketball star? Well, a good friend of ours gave her a fragile centuries-old piece of Torah scroll a few days ago for her birthday.

And the child commenced to read it to me.





325 Responses to “So, What Were You Doing 30 Years Ago??”

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  1. 251

    Yes, my second born has scared me to death since the day she was born. Of course, she was premature and couldn’t breathe on her own, but true to form to this day she was in a hurry to get started on life. People were entertained by coming to my house and watch my stomach dance when I was pregnant with her! I have predictions of second born children. She’s as stubborn as can be and I had a pastor’s wife who constantly reminded me that the very thing that made her difficult was also what gave her the greatest potential! I never understood how that was possible, but I saw that stubbornness put to good use just a couple of years ago! Let’s just say if she had to live at a Boy Scout camp during most of her summers I’m glad she has the personality she has! I worry about her sister, who sometimes is a little too compliant for her own good and let’s people walk all over her!!! Of course, when her incredibly strong-willed older brother and sister fight (which they do constantly!) she just rolls her eyes, hides in a corner and reads a book or something waiting for things to calm down! She’s adorable and quiet! How she was born into this loud, obnoxious family I will never understand!!!!

    • 251.1

      Oh, and thirty years ago I was seven years old and about to start first grade. Otherwise, I have no idea what I was doing. Probably playing in the hay or something. Hopefully not looking at my parent’s porn which they never bothered hiding! I know I hated that, so avoided it if at all possible!

  2. 252
    Kim says:

    Love your story. Your daughter and I share the same birthday-just five years earlier for me. I have two daughters of my own. Completely and utterly the two most amazing giftsI’ve ever been given. Thanks for sharing.

  3. 253
    Ibukun says:

    I think I’m going to start getting a hang off commenting after the rush lol. 30 years ago, I was on God’s sweet, sweet mind to be born in 1993. 🙂 boy did he take his time wimme

  4. 254
    Chrystal says:

    This made me laugh and cry! I’m the mother of an 8 year old boy (who I thought would be a girl………until a couple of people told me, “hate to tell you but you’re having a boy!”) He all ready fits the bill of doing things “his own way”! I particularly laughed at the basketball thing………..can so relate!!! And I can’t be blamed……I live in KY….we eat, sleep and breathe basketball! ha………oh well….
    Happy Birthday to Melissa!

  5. 255
    Natalie says:

    Happy b day Melissa!

    Having just turned 30 and waiting to go pick up my first child from Uganda this was especially sweet! Mama Beth thanks for being a spirtual mom to those of us who didnt have one:)

    PS I met Melissa in a restaurant bathroom in Atlanta and she is both beautiful and own to earth!

  6. 256
    beverly says:

    30 years ago today I wa past due on my second child, a daughter! She was due July 19 and came August 2! Her name is Courtney, but I should have named her JOY! because that is what she has always been. Her eyes shine and light up a room and she has the most incredible smile. She is now a mother herself and a wonderful one! I am so proud of her and so honored to be her mom! Yes she was two weeks late in the heat of the summer, but oh so worth the wait! 🙂 I also have a wonderful son, who is my firstborn and another daughter younger! So happy and blessed and proud of them all…..don’t deserve any of them, but so happy God trusted them in my care! No better role than mom!

  7. 257
    Sarah says:

    All I have to say is only you, Beth, would wear earrings while delivering a baby! My precious Benjamin was born seven years ago today:)

  8. 258
    Cari Andreani says:

    That was beautifully put. Daughters are beautiful treasures aren’t they? I feel so utterly unworthy to have mine. Thankful God sees our heart’s need and He knew how much I would love and adore her.
    Thank you for sharing your heart 🙂 It really touched mine 🙂

  9. 259
    jill says:

    I just cried and cried and cried…..must be the pregnancy hormones. I am 13 weeks pregnant with our first child. Mrs. Beth, please pray that I will be a good mom. A Godly mom. We are not going to find out what we are having, and I am praying that God will give us what we need!

    • 259.1
      Andrea Henley says:

      Praying for you Jill. I have a 5 mo old girl, and the time is precious. Someone suggested (starts w B, ends w eth) that memorizing the book of James is a good thing. Once you find your mommy rhythm, try it while you’re nursing, bottle feeding, or just plain awake at night. Your sweet baby will pick it up with you. It’s worth the effort. Best wishes!

  10. 260
    T. Knight S viesta Sisters says:

    GA. I know we are supposed to wait until after we meet, but I had to say that Beth, I was at Passion and my daughter was one of those middle school students looking up at you!! I LOVE LOVE LOVE the lesson you taught! It was powerful. Thank you.

    I also never reported on last week. We had 11 ladies that met with us and one of them was visiting from Ireland! We had a POWERFUL time of prayer. We grabbed on to the statement about how it is our exquisite honor to pray for our sisters!!


  11. 261
    pat w says:

    30 years ago, I was 12 years old. too young for a drivers license but probably on a tractor getting a sunburn in a hayfield. one thing i’ve not done in quite some time. though, there’s nothing quite painful enough to forget as the pain of a sunburn in a hayfield. and yet, there is also nothing quite so serene as bumping along on an old red “c” tractor with sky above, mountains surround, and groundhogs scurrying through their tunnels while skimming over them kicking up a flurry of grass dust as sweet smelling as clover honey. another thing I remembered while reading your story, was how much a treasure it was to find some scott wesley brown jesus music on old blue cassettes. they weren’t in wallyworld and all over like nowadays, I specificly remember they were in a concrete block building set up in somebody’s back lot, a whole state over, 2 hours from home, and sometimes “bootleg” was the only way to get jesus music. isnt that something how far along jesus has come, can get it in your phone now if so desire. but back in the day, those blue cassette tapes were the best.

  12. 262
    Sue says:

    Dear Beth,
    I can so relate to your story of your 30 year old. She has always told me that she was raised in the Church from conception. I guess they can’t help but to know God when we are already praying for them then. My daughters and I are very close as well. And tradition is on my birthday they take me to lunch or dinner just the 3 of us. There have been times as I watch my girls hang together, laugh and sometimes just talk nonsense, I too just bubble over with the most amazing memories and reflect on how God has blessed me with amazing women of God. My girls are Sarah 33 and Amy 30.
    We are certainly blessed women!
    In Him, Sue

  13. 263
    Pamela Payne says:

    Wow…I simply love your story and the way you told it. Wow!
    30 years ago, I too had a three-year-old daughter who was the boss of our home. I too, was teaching aerobic classes, but was not yet pregnant. I had to talk my Paul into a second. He said to me very seriously one night, “What if I don’t love another child the way I love ReAnnon?” “You will, honey, I promise you will.” I must have conceived Michael shortly after that because he was born May 3rd, 1984. When we were preparing for him, I begged Paul to re-carpet the house. He let ReAnnon, who had just turned four pick out the carpet for her room. ” I want yellow in the middle,” she said, ” with lime green around that, and red around the green.” She got exactly what she wanted. I told you she ruled the roost, right? We loved her and and her bedroom, even when she bossed us around. She has now given Paul and I the two,(soon to be three) most precious boys on the face of the earth. And my husband, God bless him, fell madly in love with our Michael just like I knew he would.

  14. 264

    Hi Girls,
    I actually read this post on Saturday and loved it! After hearing about the shootings here just 20 minutes away from our home, it was a beautiful way for me to end my day. Thank you Beth.
    Since I left Hawaii and moved to Colorado 15 years ago, there have been 3 horrific shootings here. The Columbine massacre, the Colorado Springs shooting at the New Life Church and now this horrific incident at the movie theater in Aurora. The morning after it occurred , it was all over K-Love which I listen to with my kids, ages 4 and 6. I gently had to explain to my children what had happened last night, but not going into any detail. I did this because I want them to understand that there is evil in this world and bad things do happen.
    When the shootings at Columbine occurred, I was not walking with the Lord and I wondered how God could allow those things to happen. And you know what, I still wonder why He allows such senseless acts of violence.
    But there is one thing I don’t wonder about. What I know is this: God loves us more then we can ever imagine, this is not our home and we will be there soon, and while we are here, one of the most important things that we can do for our children is to pray for them!

  15. 265
    CJ says:

    My favorite part about this post is the picture…and how Keith is covering her eyes so she can open them and not be blinded by the light. Men are so much more sensitive than we give them credit for!!

  16. 266
    judy says:

    Happy Birthday to your daughter.

    I didn’t realize you lived in Victoria at one time. We were there in 1987 until 11yrs later when we were able to move back home. How neat it would have been to have known you then. I am thankful to know you now. Blessings.

  17. 267
    NicsHope says:

    What a beautiful way to honor your special day. Happy everything!

  18. 268
    Diane says:

    Unfortunately, where I was 30 years ago: I was only 12, the oldest of 2 in our single parent home, I was getting used to going to a new church b/c my mother had been victimized by the minister at the church(same denomination/different location)we’d attended since my parents’ split after the denomination’s area hierarchy refused to remove him for a few years afterwards, but more complaints were filed with the denomination & keeping it hush-hush was what they were working for -instead of justice. In time, they did end up moving him around many times because he didn’t stop. My mother recovered, for the most part, but it took a long time.

  19. 269
    Kim says:

    30 years ago I was eleven years old and was in sixth grade. I had been in church all my life at that point but wouldn’t come to know the Lord until 4 years later.

    Thank you for sharing your story. You are such a blessing!

  20. 270
    karenzach says:

    Beth & Melissa: Just got off Skype with my very pregnant daughter. “I wish my water would break,” she said. “Otherwise I’ll have to go 12 hours without eating on Friday.”
    The day she is scheduled to have that Sinner baby by C-Section. I don’t think I’ll send her this link. Knowing her, she’d be out jogging the block this afternoon.
    It’s been a treasure to get to know Melissa. I know exactly what you mean about getting lost in your daughters. I do it constantly. Strong and good-hearted women always inspire me. Happy belated birthday Melissa. You are an inspiration & a gift!

  21. 271
    Ginger says:

    I was being born as well…:-)

  22. 272
    Sury says:

    Susan and Mary we have been meeting together to listen watch and listen to the video segment since the beginning. I never registered us, but please know, we are so blessed by this study.
    Susan – Watchung,NJ
    Mary – Westfield, NJ

  23. 273
    Shalom says:

    A beautiful tribute.

  24. 274
    Missy S says:

    Might just be the most beautiful thing you’ve ever written, Beth!

  25. 275
    Shannon says:

    So I’ve been running a day late and a dollar short and just read this. I have my precious girls who are precocious, obstinate, creative, wild, daring, individuals who we are so protective of each other despite their 3 1/2 year difference. At 5 and 2, they’ve formed a bond that is them against the world. I adore them like crazy, and your words brought tears from the pit of my soul. Because you get it. I am nauseated just thinking about thinking about my past (and perhaps present) and I know how overwhelming the gift of my girls is. I certainly didn’t earn them and there’s no way I can ever teach them, love them, nurture them enough. But God entrusted this mess of a person with them, and that is the great blessing of my life. You are such an encouragement to me, and I for one, and so thankful you aren’t perfect and boring.

  26. 276
    Nancy says:

    I love this story. I have a “little boy” who turns 30 this year too.

    I really got a kick out of the picture. What kind of mascara were you wearing back in the day? It still looked good, even after labor. If they still make that brand, I would like to get some for myself! The earrings did not go unnoticed either! When you can be a doll baby during the birthing process, you are a doll baby indeed! Well done!!!

  27. 277
    Elizabeth says:

    Beth, you are such a great story teller. Brings tears to my eyes!!

  28. 278
    Jessica says:

    thank you so much for sharing that! Expecting my first in just two months, and that beautifully written blog brought excitement to my heart and made me long to meet this sweet child. May it be in 30 years as it is for you now– that this boy would be a testament of grace and how the Lord covers all that I am and all of the craziness I’ve been. Praying that He imparts Himself into this child as I attempt in all my humanity to raise him (and, Lord willing, siblings to come) well.
    Love you Beth!! And happy birthday Melissa!

  29. 279
    Lisa says:

    My baby girls are 19 and 20. I so totally get what you were saying about being amazed at the very grace of God to bless us with these miracles. He loves us so, inspite of ourselves :)Praise His name!

  30. 280
    terri says:

    Beth, Thanks for your story… 30 years ago?? M 1st born was 1 at the time, born 8/5/81. Went on to have 4 more 🙂
    Its funny, but I felt the same way, before I went on to have #2 I too, was afraid I wouldn’t love the 2nd as I did the 1st…but our Lord has given us hearts that are capable of loveing all he gives us <3
    Beth, I appreciate your ministry so very much… you never leave me bored… as a matter of fact i have to try to keep up with you lol… God Bless you

  31. 281
    Jennifer Matus says:

    I just stumbled across this blog and found it awesome that you lived here in Victoria and your daughter was born here as well. Dr.Mabry has been my mother’s doctor for well a very long time and she worked a First Baptist Church Daycare for years as well. Small world!!!

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