Three Years Down a Dirt Road

Three years ago today, I came the closest I’ve ever come to having a full-throttle panic attack. Melissa was in the passenger seat of my car while I was at the wheel and she started frantically turning every air conditioner vent on the dash straight toward my face. “Breathe, Mom. It’s going to be fine!” I’d worked like a crazy woman for three days packing up our house for this move so it shouldn’t have caught me off guard but suddenly the reality of that huge moving van right in front of us with 27 years of our lives stuffed into it nearly did me in. I wanted to pull up beside it, roll down my window, and yell, “I changed my mind!”


I’d raised my babies in that house, stood at that mailbox and waited for the school bus with them, buried three beloved dogs in that backyard, danced with my man on that linoleum kitchen floor, fought with him in that den, fallen head over heels with the Scriptures in that tiny dining room, pulled trashcans forty million times to that curb, cried as many tears and thrown my head back with as many laughs…all in that one house. We’d bought it at a foreclosure price and still struggled to pay the mortgage but not one day did we take it for granted. Our very best friends helped us move into that house. Our oldest kids were 5 and our youngest 2. Our kids played together in that house too many times to count. We were inseparable in those days.

I loved it so much. I declared over and over that I’d never leave that house. But I did.



Three years ago today, we followed that moving van down a highway on the outskirts of Houston then down one bumpy dirt road then another that my man had cleared himself in order to move us in. He’d had to dig a water well, have telephone lines and electric lines put in, and bulldoze enough trees out of the way to tuck in two houses: his parents’ and ours. They’d lived in town beside us. We wouldn’t have moved without them. Most of my neighbors at my house of 27 years had lived there for decades, too. We loved those people and they loved us. Our preschoolers had played together then graduated from high school together. We could holler at one another across the fence. We had a new fence now and new neighbors who, as you can see, were set in their ways. They only had one word to say to us when we got here. “Mooooooooooooove.”

photo 3

We also had snakes.

coral snake


Several different kinds.


water moccasin

So this became our fashionable footwear.



Big Pops and Memmaw soon got a rooster and chickens. It took us a while to get used to them and them a while to get used to us. Big Pops and Memmaw enjoy the eggs but I just can’t eat them. Something about eating eggs from a chicken I know personally doesn’t sit well on my stomach.



We’ve had a few unexpected visitors drop in.  Some of them were particularly delightful.



It helped that our kids started liking it out here. The Jones live in the suburbs about 20 minutes from here and we knew they’d adapt well because their kids were at the perfect age for tadpoles and hoot owls but our city girl, Melissa, lives smack downtown in Houston, Texas almost an hour away. She was the least enthused about our move. Some might even say slightly pouty. One day a few months after we moved, she succumbed to a sudden bout of sentimentality and went back to our old neighborhood to go for a walk there like we’d done thousands of times. She’d even planned to shed a few tears. She called me on her cell phone when she got back in the car and said, “I don’t like it here anymore. Y’all aren’t here.” And that very moment, her heart shifted to the country. These days she makes the trek constantly. She’s fallen in love with these woods and these neighbors:




Living next door to Big Pops and Memmaw means that we have ample time with all four generations. When Jackson is grown, he probably won’t remember that we ever lived anywhere else. Not even that house where we raised his mommy.

Jax and Pops



Needless to say, I’ve spent a lot of time with Big Pops myself. Here on the gator. This is only one of three John Deeres on the property. Big Pops planted his behind on a tractor the second we moved in.




We’ve put a lot of miles on this thing in three years. Here with my two girls and our good friend, Crista.



The idea came to me for Bibby’s Secret Closet here at this new house. The kids never know what surprise Bibby’s gonna pull from it.




We often have our pastor and his wife over for dinner. We make it our goal to be their favorite church members.




It’s amazing how much he looks like my son-in-law.


Annabeth loves having her birthday here. She says she’s always going to have it here. We’ll see. But we’ll take it for now.



We have a tiny little sliver of water not far from us that you could call a creek if you were in a particularly generous mood. It’s got some sand by it that the kids really like. Be blessed that this is not a scratch and sniff picture because the creek doesn’t always smell all that good, especially if it hasn’t rained in a while. But if your nose is slightly stuffy, it can be pretty fun.



Don’t think there’s not plenty of excitement in the country. Keith was Superman to this baby hawk with a broken leg that we found on this branch down from our house one day. Flies were already all over it when Keith rescued it and took it in a box to the only vet clinic in Houston that takes this sort of patient. Keith kept tabs on him with the vet and, sure enough, he made it.




Several months later a hawk swooped down and ate one of Memmaw’s chickens. I couldn’t help but think, “Seriously?? After we saved one of your very brethren???” But not long after that, Queen Esther helped herself to a chicken and Geli (our birddog) followed suit and has thus far made a picnic lunch out of two. Well. Maybe three.

Geli begs to eat out. She likes her food to be organic. Here she had a bad hankering for a double-meat rabbit burger. Cut the bun.

Geli looking outside


We find all sorts of critters in our backyard. We host raccoons and rabbits constantly but we also have possums. I used to hate possums because of their pointy little teeth and the way they hiss but somehow, now that we live out here, I feel like I can’t hate them as much. I feel compelled to be a good possum steward. This was our favorite backyard drop-by of all. We got up one recent Sunday morning to this sight and nearly died.  Two more were just on the other side of the iron fence.





Three years is long enough to have lived through some losses. Remember those beloved dogs I told you we’d buried in the backyard of our house of 27 years? We’ve been forced to start a pet cemetery here in these woods now and we are not anxious to populate it. With many tears we recently laid the Jones’s faithful, dearly-loved golden retriever, Beckham, to rest.




He was, without a doubt, the happiest dog in the whole USA.




My man and I are coming up on 36 years of marriage in a few weeks. You can’t live together that long and not have a lot of ups and downs. Well, maybe some people can but they are not us. Not by a long shot. We’ve ridden a roller coaster together, my man and me. But we are so glad we stuck it out. We’ve had the happiest season of our lives out in these woods. We loved our home in town so much but, heck, sometimes you just need to move somewhere new. This was from Thanksgiving a few weeks ago. Keith put a fireplace on our back porch and, if it’s lit, our family doesn’t get three feet from it. South Texas has the kind of climate where you could spend the whole winter on your back porch as long as you had a little firewood.




Just last week our long-since adopted family member, Travis (Cottrell), was out in the country with us and he snapped this picture right before he left. He loves Keith Moore and Keith Moore loves him. I’m mad now that Trav wasn’t in the picture.



So, three years to the day later, we’re making it out in these modest woods. These acres would not be beautiful to everybody but they’re beautiful to us. Life has been brand new out here. I won’t kid you. It’s been an adjustment. A lot less eating out. A lot more cooking. A lot more driving to work. The cars stay filthy. The raccoons won’t stay out of the trash. Fed Ex never can find us. But we don’t mind. Because it was time to make a move. For us, it was out where the dawn breaks to the crow of a rooster.


My heart is filled with gratitude to God as I glance over my shoulder at the last several years. He knew this was just where we Moores needed to be. Out here in the sticks.


It turned out to be the season for moving in the tightest part of our social circle. Our very best friends of 34 years bought a new house, too. I don’t think they’d mind me showing you a picture. You know, they’re the ones I told you about earlier. We raised our kids together. They love their new house.

We love it, too.





137 Responses to “Three Years Down a Dirt Road”

If you'd like your own pic by your comment, go to Click the first button "Get your gravatar today ->", and it will walk you through a simple process to select a picture.


  1. 101
    Helen Wall says:

    Thank you for sharing. . . my heart was moved by your story.

  2. 102
    Lindsey says:

    I love that I have had the same thought this week. Sometimes a fresh start and something new isn’t such a bad thing. We never know what we miss if we don’t take chances. Thankfully, the Lord is there to guide us. Also, love how life comes full circle. 🙂

  3. 103
    Laura says:

    I loved this update of life after the move. Always wonderful to see the photos. I was sad to learn that the Jones’s had lost their beloved Golden Retriever. I know how hard that can be. Lost my boy Golden in 12/09. Like a move, we *moved* into little dog territory. God sent us a Bichon Frise (Sheila Walsh has two of these adorable critters). This was a huge change for us. In the end though, the little rescue dog has been nothing but a blessing to us, my elderly Mom, and sister Golden retriever. Move to a new house, move to a new dog…yes, a weird comparison but both stories end well because God is woven through them.

  4. 104
    Heather Mac says:

    Oh how I LOVED this story of the move and your love of life in the country. We live in the country ourselves and I do the commute from Hempstead to downtown Houston every day, on the bus of course, but there are times when I have to drive in. I wouldn’t be able to smile without the winding down out there in the sticks we get to do on the weekends, being horseback, just loving the sky at night and being able to see the stars. Thanks for sharing this with us. You look beautiful and so happy. Praise God, as I know y’all do. I have never seen a woman more in love with the Lord. Thank you for sharing. Merry Christmas to all of you!

  5. 105
    Kim says:

    Love, love, love. That’s what I see here. And sweet Beckham…how adorable.

  6. 106
    Janey Hollingsworth says:

    I love your honesty at ALL times, Beth!! We’ve moved quite a bit- my husband being a church planter!! But we’d never been in one place for 27 years!! The longest was 12 years in OKC- and relocated to south Louisiana- a million people in OKC , to 12,000 in our fair town!! Quite an adjustment- but the hardest was leaving a son in OKC, and one in Little Rock!! It took a huge adjustment- but now after 4 1/2 years I can finally say ( with the Lord’s BIG help) I like this small town fine!! Thanks for sharing your life and being so transparent to all of us- it helps us along the way!! Big time!

  7. 107
    Paula Cranford says:

    Thank you, Beth, for sharing so warmly and openly. It is a wonderful Christmas letter from your family to ours. So happy for you all to experience the joys of country living. I have lived in several rural areas so relate to what you shared.
    There is a Christian ministry near San Antonio, TX called Majesty Outdoors. It was formed by a group of business men and their families who give the opportunity for inner city boys to experience hunting and life on a ranch. They provide them with hunting gear and then the boys get to bring home some of the meat from the hunt to share with their families. Through this connection there are scholarship opportunities for the boys as well. A young man that my husband and son mentor is flying back tonight from TX after being at the ranch and getting an eight-point buck as well as a hog on an earlier trip! Before these trips he had never flown on an airplane. His life has been forever changed by this Christian ministry and their generous hearts. You never know the impact of sharing your gifts and talents with others for the Lord. God bless you and Merry Christmas!

  8. 108

    Beth, thank you for this timely message. This week we are closing the door on our home of over twenty years. We designed and built that house. My children were born while we lived in that house. We housed a few others who needed a place to belong in that house. It is inside the Loop while our new home is what seems like the country to us, but is really just the ‘burbs. We now have about 1/2 an acre. It’s a fresh start for us in many ways and came about in a way that only God could have orchestrated. We are sad, we are excited, we are so tired. Thank you for sharing. I hope our happiest years are ahead in our new home. But no snakes, please. 🙂

  9. 109
    Shannon says:

    Omgosh Beth, that is the greatest ending (really the beginning). How awesome that your best friends bought your home of 27 years. Thank you so much for sharing your life with us. The pictures are my favorite!

  10. 110
    Lorrena says:

    Thank you for sharing this beautiful story. This gives me hope because we too are going to be headed back to South Texas in a few months and although I am nervous about the actual move, I know God’s hand is on it. He is leading us into a ministry there which hasn’t been revealed yet, but we clearly hear His call. My husband and I grew up in the country and although we have been in neighborhoods for the last few years we also desire to live and raise our 3 kids in the woods. God is so good and so faithful and your your story reminds me of His grace and fingerprints. Thank you Beth. 🙂

  11. 111
    Johnnie says:

    The new owners of this precious home don’t take it for granted either. So blessed to live in a place already filled with memories.

  12. 112
    Brenda says:

    Funny how moves can turn out. I never really had panic attacks but I sure felt like one the night before I moved from my apt of 22 years into the house I grew up in. Never thought I would move to that house again either. As a teenager I felt like Mary Ellen Walton, like I was going to live and die and never get past Waltons Mountain. Moving was extremely stressful. Just getting boxes to pack things was so stressful that even now 7 years later I give boxes and packing materials to people rather than throw them out. It was so weird being back in the family home when I first moved in – and the house had 50 years worth of stuff in it when I moved 22 years of an apt into it – and the house needed work. Seven years later the renos are done and the really strange thing is, the house is turning into my dream house. Who would have ever thought that would happen? Lots of memories in the house but there are no longer any “ghosts” in every room and the house no longer feels like the family home. In spite of all the stress and hassles of moving, renos, etc. I knew it was where the Lord wanted me to be and He has been with me every step of the way. And now on the brink of retirement, I know He will see through on the rest of my journey. My neighbours are wonderful and I am really enjoying living in a house again. I had some trouble too with raccoons and then discovered that if you sprinkle some Epson salts in or around the trash can, the raccoons will it alone. Doesn’t hurt them, but they don’t like the smell. It really works.

  13. 113
    Hidy Ortiz says:

    Beth, thank you for sharing your life & ministry with us! God loves to write stories and this one comes full circle…who could have predicted the outcome. Only God!
    Love, Love, Love! Keep enjoying the new stage of your life! Be blessed!

  14. 114
    Warm In Alaska says:

    Loved it! Thanks for sharing, Beth

  15. 115
    Lynn Watson says:

    Hi Beth,

    I loved this post so much!! I’m new to your blog but have been a Faithful Follower of yours (and Jesus) forever!!

    Love, Lynn

    PS My two girls and I are signing up (if we aren’t too late) for the Siesta Scripture Memory Team and are planning, as of today, to be in Houston 2016 for the celebration!

    PSS Your Daniel study changed my life!

  16. 116
    Diane says:

    I loved this story!! So many similarities to my own story. My husband and I just moved to VA after living in PA for our whole married life of 38 years in the house we bought 1 month before our wedding!! We moved to near our 2 married children and their 3 daughters; our beloved granddaughters. We have had some crazy experiences too!!
    Thanks for making me laugh and also be able to laugh at our stories too!!

  17. 117
    AnnieB says:

    God bless you in your new home.

  18. 118
  19. 119
    Darlene says:


  20. 120
    Caroline says:

    Loved reading this! What a beautiful glimpse into your family. Praying that God will continue to bless your time together out in the country.

  21. 121
    Ginger Hawthorne says:

    This was a much needed message. I remember the night you told us of your move at Houston Connection and I wondered how you survived moving out! After 23 years in the house I raised my children as a single mother I’m considering moving to another house with my husband of 3 years. I’m finding it difficult to let go, of the house and its memories and contents. Thanks for providing this inspiration, Beth. I hope to look back one day and feel the joy and contentment I felt here with you.

  22. 122
    Wendi spencer says:

    “For I alone know the plans I have for you, plans to bring you prosperity and not disaster, plans to bring about the future you hope for.” Jeremiah 29:11 Good News Bible

  23. 123
    Natalie says:

    Natalie, Butte, Montana

    Isaiah 58:9b-10 NIV

    If you do away with the yoke of oppression, with the pointing finger and malicious talk, and if you spend yourselves in benefit of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like noonday.

  24. 124
    Teresa says:

    Teresa, Minneapolis, John 16:13
    But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth.

  25. 125
    Becky says:

    I was wondering where I could get the full version of Moving On? I watched the partial of it on youtube and would like to watch it all. Thanks.

    Becky Baily

Leave a Reply

To receive a daily digest of comments on this post, enter your email address below: