Reflections by the Sea: Column turned into book in hopes of creating ripple effect

Published 4:32 pm Monday, August 1, 2022

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Even the tiniest of pebbles can create ripples when dropped in a large body of water.

When Betsy Ore Glass began photographing life at the beach and reflecting on how her surroundings tied into faith, she had hoped it would have a lasting effect on those whom it reached. She now offers a body of work – Reflections by the Sea – that was crafted to share compassion, glorification of God and breathtaking imagery.

Glass spent her early childhood knee-deep in the waters of the Chesapeake Bay, where she and her grandmother would often walk the sandy beaches and rest on the washed-up driftwood while young Betsy was free to ask any question she wished. That shore is where she learned about Jesus. “While my parents were busy, I would spend time with my grandmother,” the author said. “She somehow got ahold of the church bulletins . . . and we would cut them out to make a scrapbook of Jesus. And wouldn’t you know, I still have that thing,” she reminisced while speaking with The Coastland Times.

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The sea has always been a safe haven for Glass. Her family discovered the Outer Banks when she was just seven years old, vacationing for a week in a small ocean side cottage known as “Sea Spray.” “It was glorious to go to the beach and have access to your parents when they weren’t busy. We would go down to the Kentucky Fried Chicken at the Whalebone Junction because it was the only place that was open at that time.”

Glass’ parents, Red and Helen Ore, purchased an oceanfront beach-box located at Milepost 4 at an auction for a mere $6,000. The house had no heat, no air conditioning and little furniture, but was adored by the family. “My job was to clean the big picture window of the salt spray, and what a job that was,” she said. “We would lay out there and watch the shooting stars . . . and play under the house when it got too hot.” Helen handmade curtains for their new slice of paradise, and Red went to the Army Navy store to collect bunk beds, which saw a fresh coat of coral paint upon returning to the property.

The long summer days lent themselves well to amusement park and roller rink trips. The columnist said her family would go down to Wink’s to grab a bag of fireballs, and as a teenager she would happily leave her shoes in a corner of the casino and dance all night long on the wooden floors. “We had so many happy times.” Red and Helen sold the house eventually, before it washed away to sea. They spent over 20 years living in the Outer Banks. Glass would later share more blissful memories with her own husband and two children on the Outer Banks.

Shortly after the author celebrated her 50th birthday while living in Raleigh, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. The treatment, she said, was difficult. She had to receive both chemo and radiation over the course of a year. During that time, Glass decided to write little columns, including both scriptures and references to the beach, to pass onto her children in case she did not make it through.

After recovery, she set up shop in the bottom floor apartment of her parents’ house on Durham Street in Kill Devil Hills. “I moved in for a month,” Glass shared. “I knew I needed to go to the beach to heal my soul.” There, she began taking photographs with her Hewlett Packard camera, eventually tying the photo in with a written reflection.

The Outer Banks Sentinel newspaper began using some of her photos. Glass then composed a portfolio of 30 columns and photographs, which would soon be known as Reflections by the Sea, and dropped off her work at The Coastland Times office, hoping for the best. The Christian columnist that had written for the paper had just passed, and Betsy was offered the empty position on a trial basis. “Well, it’s been 22 years and I’m still on that trial,” she laughed.

Glass battled breast cancer for a second time during the COVID-19 pandemic. It was at that time she decided her column needed new life, which led to her newly released self-published book bearing the same name. She dedicated the book to her parents, who played a big part in looking over and approving her early columns. “They were so proud to be a part of it,” she said.

This book is “a finalization of a life of work,” the author noted, meant to be passed down and shared with those looking for a little encouragement. “All I’ve ever wanted to do is be an encourager . . . let me make your path a little easier and let me share with you what I know so you don’t have to go through the same thing. That’s what I feel like God has given me, that gift.”

Perhaps another book will follow, or even a podcast, but for now Glass is happy to share her musings and art with the world in this piece, one that she hopes will reach many in time. “God will ripple it wherever he wants it to go,” she started, “you drop that pebble and it has all those ripples and you don’t know how far it goes, but my theory is that as long as it glorifies God, it’s good and he will continue to sell it for me.”

Reflections by the Sea offers hope, guidance and an abundance of sea imagery, which seamlessly connects God’s word to the physical world in which we dwell. Forty devotions fill the hardbound’s pages alongside the author’s very own color photography and paintings.

Glass will be at Downtown Books in Manteo on Wednesday, August 3 from noon to 2 p.m. signing copies of her new book. She will be giving away a free color signed print of her artwork with each purchase. Both the author and Downtown Books have partnered with Feline Hope; for every book sold, a portion of the profits will be donated to the no-kill cat shelter in Kitty Hawk.

“It is an organization that is close to my heart because my dad, when he was alive, was very fond of them and the work they do. So, the donation will be in his name and honor Red and Helen Ore,” said Glass.

To learn more about Betsy Ore Glass and her work, visit her website at