Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The New Year

Reflections by the Sea © Betsy Ore Glass
December 31, 2008

…but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. –Isaiah 40:31 NIV

Expectant hope is the term that I want to keep close to me in this coming year. Just like the calendar year transitions from 2008 to 2009, we often go through cycles of transition ourselves. One thing for sure, we are never standing still. We are either going forward or backward. Sometimes the choice is up to us.

I recently heard of a woman who is facing a difficult time with her health. If I could talk to her I would say “choose life”. When hard times hit us, especially a health crisis, we have to see ourselves well. Visualize that we improving. Look forward to the things that once brought joy and think about doing them again. That is an example of “expectant hope”. Learning to replace the fear that comes to steal, kill and destroy with expectant hope is good medicine.

What will 2009 bring to each of us? There may be good times and bad times. Happy times and sad times. In-between times. Busy times and quiet times. Like the tide that comes and goes, our life ebbs and flows, too. But this much we do know. God is Our Source. We can face anything that comes our way as long as we have a strong, steady relationship with God. A daily relationship. It doesn’t have to be a long-drawn out session….just start off by talking with Him a few minutes each day. Tell Him your concerns and surrender them over to Him. Then Trust Him. Wait on Him. Learn to listen for Him to speak wisdom into your heart. But most of all, while you grow in the Lord, hold on to expectant hope. Believe that God has wonderful things He wants to bless you with. I believe that 2009 has something wonderful for each of us, if we choose to live in expectant hope,while trusting Him.


Reflections by the Sea © Betsy Ore Glass
December 31, 2008

Photography by Elizabeth Brown

You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. -Ephesians 4:22-24 NIV

Is there anything any better than a sunny day!! There have been some lovely days lately to venture outdoors and walk the beach. Sunshine brightens our spirit and refreshes us, both inside and out. It has been said that wherever you go, no matter what the weather, always bring your own sunshine. That is a good quote to live by especially while we are in the midst of winter.

The new year is just a few days old. There is hope and excitement about what will come in the next twelve months. Not only is it a new beginning, but it is a chance to make some changes. The new year can be the time to set goals and to sow seeds for the future. How could this year be any different from other years? What could make the difference? The difference is in our attitude. Developing a right attitude is the key. Our attitude will dictate our success or failure. It will make the difference between happiness and unhappiness.

Mary Engelbreits' advice about attitude is this: “If you don't like something change it, if you can't change it, change the way you think about it.”I know of people that have truly fallen on hard times with one problem after the other stacking up. Yet, they are cheerful, grateful and trusting God for so much when they have so little. Their attitude must surely please God. The new year is a chance to shed that old self and those old ways in favor of a better way. To be open to receive a new way to live and think. Luke 5:38 talks about wineskins. We shouldn't put old wine into new wineskins. Like wineskins, that wisdom applies to us today as we must keep old mindsets and attitudes from contaminating this new year. By drawing a line in the sand symbolically, we can leave the old behind. Let's make a solid effort to embrace this new year with the heart and attitude of Jesus.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas Eve

Reflections by the Sea © Betsy Ore Glass
December 23, 2008

As the sun goes down on a last minute, hectic sort of day in preparation and anticipation of Christmas, the stillness of Christmas Eve can be mesmerizing. Lighted decorations flicker on through the neighborhood at dusk. The grand music from Handel’s “Messiah” replaces “Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer” on the radio. The reverence of this night begins to envelope us and the peace that follows comforts us. As the night sky unfolds, one by one, the stars above begin to twinkle overhead with an extra brilliance. I find myself looking to the east for that special star and wondering what it was like the night Jesus was born. The real meaning of Christmas can be found, not in the decorations, the expectation of Santa’s arrival or the presents under the tree. God’s gift to us was His Son, Jesus, who came to this world so that we may live, that through His sacrifice on the cross, we should have everlasting life. There is so much about Jesus to learn. So much He wants to teach us. For years we read the poem, “’Twas the Night Before Christmas “ to our children on Christmas Eve. How I look back now and wish that we had focused more on the Birth of Jesus than we did the arrival of Santa Claus. Perhaps it is not too late to start a new tradition by adding the story of the Birth of Jesus to our Christmas Eve ritual.

Just to remind us again how it all began, here is the story of the birth of Jesus, as told by Luke.

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to his own town to register. So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger." Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests." When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about." So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told. –Luke 2:1-20 NIV

Merry Christmas to each of you and God’s Blessings to all.

Thursday, December 18, 2008


Reflections by the Sea © Betsy Ore Glass
December 18, 2008

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, -- Galatians 5:22 NIV

One definition for tradition is, “a story or a custom that is memorized and passed down from generation to generation”. I think of it as a circle of love. It goes round and round to warm and comfort a family in their own specialness.

It is the time of year to finalize those holiday plans and bring to life those childhood traditions again. This year our family won’t get to see everyone all at once as we have in the past. That has been our tradition in previous years, but we will have to revise it this year. We have been fortunate to be together so often over the years that we must celebrate that instead. It is the traditions that were set in place long ago that are the common thread in our family, whether we can geographically be together or not. We will still enjoy my mother’s cornbread stuffing because all the cooks in the family now have that recipe. My husband will have a bit of his mother with him as we eat out of her mother’s cranberry bowl. It has been passed down now 3 times! We haven’t decided if we will have my fathers’ fruit ambrosia or banana pudding. He finally conceded and gave us his secret recipes just a few years ago to our delight! Whether we are all at the same table together or scattered across many states, it is the comforts of tradition that brings about closeness and bridges any gaps. It is also a reminder to us of the memories that have helped to shape us and our holidays’ past.

Many families, regardless of their faith or heritage will begin celebrating using their traditions carried from generation to generation. The Jewish community will celebrate Chanukah by lighting the Menorah for eight days. The Christians will celebrate Christmas, celebrating the birth of Christ on the 25th.. African-Americans will honor their heritage for seven days in a fairly new tradition called Kwanzaa, beginning on the 26th. A local Outer Banks tradition called, “Old Christmas” goes back over 100 years and is still celebrated by some, but this celebration occurs as it always has, in January.

What will you pass down this year? A recipe, an old treasured family tablecloth, that special saw that always cut down the Christmas tree? Maybe we can add to that. Let’s meet this season with peace and the fruit of the spirit in our hearts to love and forgive the offenses from the past. Let it be a time to right the wrongs, make peace, love the unlovable and be merciful. We are all God’s Children and we are a part of His Circle of Love. Pass it on!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Christmas Gifts

Reflections by the Sea © Betsy Ore Glass
December 11, 2008

On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh. -Matthew 2:11 NIV

The definition of the word “gift” means something bestowed or acquired without any particular effort by the recipient or without its being earned. The first gifts of Christmas were the ones that the Three Wise Men gave to Jesus. They were gold, frankincense and myrrh. Now, over 2,000 years later, the tradition of gift-giving continues. Our western culture heavily promotes Christmas as a time for gifts, while the true celebration of Christmas, which is the birth of Jesus, often gets misplaced in our current world. God sent us His Son, Jesus and that is the greatest gift of all, the gift of love. For great is his love toward us, and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever. Praise the Lord. Psalm 117:2 NIV

This Christmas, for our family, will be like so many in the past. We find ourselves scaling back more and more on the gift giving. Now that we are all spread out, we realize it is truly a gift if most of us can come together for a few days of love and fellowship. I am looking forward to a walk on the beach. Just me with the grandchildren so we can catch up with one another. Our special time. And at Christmas Eve services, I cherish looking down the row at my family and seeing those I love in church together. We adore the ride through the neighborhood to see the houses decorated in lights in our convertible with a handful of homemade cookies (the children refer to our car as the sleigh). And so that is what we give each other. Our time and love. That, and a few homemade items made from the heart. We share our gifts and talents in that way. Stained glass tree ornaments, framed photography, paintings, crafty- type things. And this year will be some simple crocheted scarves and throws to warm my family. Many prayers and blessings have been said while doing this handwork. Unknowingly, they will be wrapping themselves in not only colorful yarn, but in prayers of protection, abundance, promotion, good health and happiness. That they would feel peace and God's Love surrounding them...and oh yes, a Mother's Love, too. A quote by Augusta E. Rundel says, “Christmas--that magic blanket that wraps itself about us, that something so intangible that it is like a fragrance. It may weave a spell of nostalgia. Christmas may be a day of feasting, or of prayer, but always it will be a day of remembrance--a day in which we think of everything we have ever loved.”

The spirit of Christmas is not measured in the amount of gifts given and received, but in the love that surrounds us and most importantly, the love that passes through us to others. His Love.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Finding Our Christmas Joy

Reflections by the Sea © Betsy Ore Glass
December 04, 2008

You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy. -Psalm 30:11 NIV

Tis the season to be jolly. And I admit to feeling that way this year. But I am also aware that maybe not everyone is feeling as joyous this Christmas for one reason or another. Tightened finances may keep families apart due to the expense of traveling this season. Others have gotten bad news from the doctor. Some may be looking for work and can't find it. And then there are the folks that have lost a loved one this past year and are feeling especially lonely. How can the joy of Christmas be captured when facing these things?

Today I was in the checkout line at the department store. I struck up a conversation with the elderly gentleman behind me. He was holding a new fishing rod and reel and was looking at it admiringly. I thought he was buying it for a grandchild because it was exactly like the one we gave our son many years ago when he learned to fish. The old man said with pride and a twinkle in his eye that he was buying it for himself. As he began to chat away, in about 5 minutes, he told me a great deal about his life. He had moved here just two weeks ago from the mid-west to be closer to family. His wife was an invalid in the nursing home, his son died as a child, he still drives everywhere he goes and had traveled to South America years ago and it was his favorite place on this earth to fish. Yes, all this in just a few minutes, and I never even got his name! But what struck me about this man as his story unfolded, was that he had every reason to be sad about moving from his home of many years to a new place so far away, or distraught because he precious wife couldn't talk and he didn't know if she recognized him anymore. He could have felt great grief that his son was taken so young in life. Or could have been anxious about exploring a new town and fearful about driving on unfamiliar streets. But no. He was smiling from ear to ear. He laughed, his eyes sparkled. He was simply bubbling over with joy. This man was happy to be alive. I wished him a Merry Christmas and smiled back at him as I said goodbye. This stranger was clearly in his mid-80's and seemed to have more energy and enthusiasm for life than I did. Before I drove out of the parking lot, I just sat for a few minutes and thought, “ what was the lesson”? I believe what made that gentleman special in my eyes was that he was determined to have joy despite his circumstances. He wasn't cranky or bitter, but was genuinely happy. This man made a great impact on me. Maybe he was one of those “old school” kind of people. Where you lived simply, gave thanks and worked at living life until the last breath.

Whatever we face, whatever our circumstances, I believe God wants us to be cheerful about where we are on our journey. We are to remember that He has the Plan and we are taught to believe that He orders our steps. If it is a hard time we are going through, He will sees us through. God is our source for everything. He is the Healer and the Provider. With God on one side and us on the other side with the talents and skills He has given us, we can be overcomer's. We might not have expected to be in the middle of a difficult situation but God says to cast our cares upon Him. If we find that we are blessed this season, then perhaps we can reach out to help someone that is struggling. Sharing God's Grace with others. Wherever we are and whatever is going on, there is always joy that we can claim. Perhaps the answer is right before us...developing a Godly Attitude, no matter what we come against. We cannot control our circumstances but we do have the ability to control our attitude. Like that old man in the checkout line, maybe we can find a little joy this Christmas, too.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

O Holy Light

Reflections by the Sea © Betsy Ore Glass
November 26, 2008

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests. -Luke 2:14 NIV

My father’s favorite Christmas carol is, ‘O Holy Night’. Over the years, I have pulled out the sheet music from the piano seat and tried in earnest to play this carol without error. My father has appreciated my annual effort and doesn’t seem to notice that the left hand and right hand aren’t always in sync. Let’s just say that ‘O Holy Night’ and I are still a work in progress.

Interestingly, this carol has quite a history. It was the first carol ever played live on a Christmas radio broadcast, dating back to 1906. The broadcast on December 24, originating from Massachusetts, was intended for ships at sea and the signal was picked up as far south as Norfolk and even as far as the West Indies, when it was rebroadcast on New Year’s Eve that year. Of all the words in this carol, it is the third verse that has the meaning for me and maybe you will agree,” Truly He taught us to love one another, His law is love and His gospel is peace.” That says it all, doesn’t it? Can we claim this as our Christmas message this year?

To add to the sights of this season, the recent early snow flurries on the Outer Banks brought in the first frosty breath of winter. Each snowflake that fell added up and before long there was a glistening of white glaze. It makes everyday things different. Was nature showing us that with one snowflake at a time we can change the landscape. Imagine what His love and peace could do if it was passed around the world! We could be a lighthouse in the darkness. He offers His Love as His pure gift to us. It is not wrapped. You won’t find it under the tree. It is there in our hearts where He placed it. He wants us to find the light He placed within us and pass it on. Now let us see if we can blanket the earth with His love and peace and change the look of things, just like a snowflake does…one at a time.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


Reflections by the Sea © Betsy Ore Glass
November 19, 2008

O Give thanks unto the Lord, for He is good: for His mercy endureth for ever. -Psalm 107:1

Thanksgiving is the time of year that makes me think of simpler times. I think of the first Thanksgiving where the history books say the menu included wild turkey, pumpkin and grains from Indian corn. The first Thanksgiving was intended not only as a celebration of the harvest, but as a day of prayer as well to thank God for the crops. It is written that we should "hem our blessings with thankfulness so they don't unravel". When the women of that time made their long hand-sown dresses, I wonder if they thought of their blessings with every stitch they sewed.

Their world was probably as complex to them as ours seems to us today. While the times have changed from a primitive world to a more modern one, the meaning of Thanksgiving has never changed. Thanksgiving is nationally honored in our country and is an official holiday. The origin of the word “holiday” comes from the phrase “holy day”. That is a good reminder to celebrate our holidays with reverence. But how do you do that, starting with Thanksgiving? Maybe you have never said a blessing over a meal before, or maybe you will be in a large crowd and are uncomfortable praying out loud. That is okay. Perhaps you can read scripture from the Bible or find a God-inspired Thanksgiving poem from the bookshelf to read. Try sharing a collaborative prayer where everyone takes a turn at the table saying one thing they are thankful to God for. Perhaps you could enjoy taking a walk on the beach to see God's beauty while giving thanks to Him in private. Whatever the action, I believe God would want to be a part of our Thanksgiving holiday to make it more of a holy day. We should show our thankfulness through our example. President John F. Kennedy said, “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Changing Landscape

Reflections by the Sea © Betsy Ore Glass
November 13, 2008

I was pushed back and about to fall, but the Lord helped me. The Lord is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation. -Psalm 118:13- 14 NIV

Every time I take a look at the beach, the shoreline is different. The currents, weather conditions, strong winds and waves all combine to cause the landscape to change its appearance often. Mighty storms come ashore and take large portions of sand out to sea. The protective dunes often get swallowed up, leaving big cliffs in the wake of the storms. Other times, the beach will seem to be replenished. Sand is constantly being pushed around by nature. For me though, that is the magic of being near the see the daily changes. It amazes me that a perfectly sunny day can disguise the havoc going on in the ocean. Offshore storms that we cannot see have the ability to push water into strong waves onto the shore from many miles away. Have you ever been to the beach when the wind was so strong, you were literally sand blasted? Winds blowing with such velocity do have the ability to move sand in such a way that walkways and vegetation get covered over. Yesterday's footprints are covered over leaving today with a clean, blank canvas to leave our mark.

While I wish I could take credit for this statement, instead, I heard it said at church last week from our Pastor. “Don't let your thoughts push you around. Instead, push them around.” When I heard those words, I knew exactly how important it was to follow that instruction. There is a reason that when we put on God's armor, we include the helmet of salvation. It is to protect our minds. We are told that we become what we think. So it all unfolds. If we let sickness, fear and worry fill our minds, we soon will be caught up in it and have plenty of sickness, and plenty to fear and much to worry over. It is like we become a magnet for what we think. That is reason enough to control our thoughts

Taking a road trip this week, I went in and out of little towns and my radio station had to be changed frequently as I searched for a new signal. That is how it is with us. When we get flooded with thoughts that we know are not good like all those “what if” thoughts, we just simply have to change the channel. We should search for a new signal. By pushing negative thoughts out of our minds, we can consciously allow only the good ones in. Romans 4:17 says we can call those things that don't exist into being. The times in my life when I was sick, I would see myself well. When I was tired, I would think myself being refreshed. When there was lack, I would think prosperity and abundance. By starting off our day on the “right channel” we are embarking on a new beginning to live positively in hope. Our new thoughts will be an encouragement to us and to those around us.

Thursday, November 6, 2008


Reflections by the Sea © Betsy Ore Glass
November 06, 2008

I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands. -Psalm 63:4 NIV

When I was a kid, I enjoyed going into the ocean and jumping up over the waves with my sisters. It sounds easier than it was though! We would turn sideways and throw our arms up over our heads for the least resistance and jump as high up as we could without the waves knocking us down. Sometimes we were successful and other times not. When we did get knocked under, we all agreed it felt as though we were in the spin cycle of a washing machine, not knowing the top from the bottom! When my own children came along, they liked riding the waves. They called it bodysurfing. They were good at it too and managed not to skin themselves up too much. My son liked riding his boogie board and mastered that quite well. Lots of tumbles but in the end it was fun. We always knew we were no match for the mighty power of the ocean waves, but when we did ride the waves in harmony, it was an exhilarating and powerful experience.

Life simply happens and we are not in control of it. When things occur that knock us off balance, we can tumble beneath the surface and get tossed around until we find the strength to stand up. Life can appear to be unfair at times, especially when bad things are hurled at us like rhymythic waves…one after the other. We have a choice when this happens. No matter what we see and hear, our faith should be in God to take us up and over the situation. He is there for everyone. He knows our needs and desires. He knows what we lack and what we hope for. We can’t experience and see God’s light if we are buried under our problems. Rather, we should seek God in all things and lift up our hands in faith, so that He can reach down for us and take us up and over troubled water.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


Reflections by the Sea © Betsy Ore Glass
October 29, 2008

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. -Colossians 3:15-17 NIV

There is a chill in the air this week. It is to be expected for this time of year. Hard to believe that it is already November and the holidays are bearing down on us. I have always called this season, “sweater weather” and yes, I do have mine on! Right now, there is a pot of soup simmering on the back of the stove. I'll make some hot cornbread later to go with it for tonight's supper. That should warm us up! There is no mistake that winter is around the corner. Before the first frost comes, we are in a transition of color...summer flowers are putting out their last blooms of pinks, yellows and reds in harmony with the fall blooms of orange, burgundy and gold Recently, I went to a farmer's market and saw all of the fall vegetables, freshly picked and ready for sale. Rows of pumpkins sat next to pots of colorful mums. Warm Apple cider was offered in small cups. I was so grateful for the chance to go and to see the fall harvest of so many people at one time. It seems the harvest this year was bountiful and abundant for many of the vendors there. In turn, they were grateful for our purchases. It was a wonderful day to celebrate God's goodness.

In just a few weeks, it will be Thanksgiving. For several years now, we have a tradition at our Thanksgiving table. We anonymously write down three things we are grateful for and during dessert we each take one out of the basket and read it aloud. Then the fun begins when we try to decide who wrote it. There may be some that will be very serious and heartfelt in their list and others may be lighthearted and funny. We all especially love to hear what the children have to say. They often lead the example for us in the area of gratitude. They have grateful hearts for so many things. There is so much to learn from a child's simple and pure heart. It is said that to speak gratitude is courteous and pleasant. To enact gratitude is generous and noble, but to live gratitude is to touch Heaven. I am going to make an extra effort in these weeks of November to be more grateful than ever before. A heart full of gratitude cannot complain. Instead, if I am tempted to complain, I will try to find something good to give God thanks for.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Coastal Erosion 

Reflections by the Sea © Betsy Ore Glass
October 23, 2008

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. -Romans 12:9-11 NIV

This past weeks surprise nor'easter really gave us a visual of the meaning of coastal erosion.The dictionary says that erosion is the group of natural processes, including weathering, dissolution, abrasion, corrosion, and transportation, by which material is worn away from the earth's surface. There are many different things that can cause coastal erosion, such as water, wind, currents, waves and storms. Erosion is a real concern to those that have invested in coastal property. The sea seems to claim more of the sand and beachfront than it gives back. There is not much that can be done when the ocean currents and strong waves align to undermine the beaches. The damage is done. We dislike erosion and how it affects our ability to enjoy the shrinking coastline. However, our love of the shore goes deeper than any erosion and we are appreciative of our beaches, big or small.

Erosion is not limited to the shoreline. It can occur in relationships too. Hopefully the spirit of love resides in us. There should be time set aside on a regular basis for showing love to our loved ones. So many things can erode a good relationship. God can bring loving people together, but the outside world can do great damage to spoil and undermine a union. Habits that develop over time that foster an indifferent attitude towards one another can slowly erode what was once good. This applies to marriages, relationship between parents and children, siblings and friendships. It takes a joint effort to have a successful relationship. Important things like going the extra mile, giving thoughtful consideration and having a lot of patience can all make a positive difference towards living in harmony. A relationship that has its roots in God’s laws is what we should strive for. I believe God would have us use the loving spirit He placed inside of us and love others through Him. Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. 1 Peter 3:7-9NIV

Thursday, October 9, 2008


Reflections by the Sea © Betsy Ore Glass
October 09, 2008

Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long. –Psalm 25:4-5 NIV

There is the little child that resides in each of us. In our pockets we tuck away our special hopes and dreams. Some we may share with others and some we may keep to ourselves. One definition for hope is to look forward with confidence or expectation and desire. To live a life that is full of hope improves our outlook. Having a childlike faith that carries hope in our hearts at any age is life-giving. God knows the desires of our heart as he probes our heart each day. We are taught to hope for the best in all situations. Easier said than done? Yes! Fear gets into the mix to steal our joy and our hope at times. But with God all things are possible. That can be easily forgotten when we run up against obstacles. Our hope sometimes fades away when we are told all the reasons something won’t happen or it won’t work as we had envisioned. Or we have waited a long time and nothing seems to be happening to make our wishes materialize. But never lose hope. Hope gives us something to live for, to look forward to. Hope gives sweetness to life. Sweet hope is stronger than the bitterness that creeps in. We can dream big and hope for much. The Believer aims to have a heart of hope rooted in faith at all times. Whatever hopes are the desires of your heart, be expectant. Today could be the day that your hopes bear fruit. Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord. –Psalm 31:24 NIV


Reflections by the Sea © Betsy Ore Glass
October 09, 2008

Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall. -Psalm 55:21-23NIV

As Autumn comes to the Outer Banks, so do the throngs of people armed with their fishing gear for the various fishing tournaments being held on shore and off. There is an art to fishing and the joy that surrounds this sport includes the bragging rights at winning one of the many tournaments commencing now. They say it is all in the wrist. And that is the ability to cast the rod at a great distance into the water. I've seen little boys and girls on piers cast their line way out...sometimes ever further than the adults nearby. Any child will tell us that they don't need all the fancy trappings of expensive rods and reels to get the job done.......a simple fishing hook, twine and bamboo pole will do. That and a lot of patience. It isn't the strength, but the technique and skill along with lots of practice that allows one to perfectly cast their line. I admit, I have practiced this. Practically throwing my shoulder out thinking I had to match my husbands' strength. Everyone has their own technique that works for them. The idea is to have something at the end of that line to reel in! Most of all, there is an abundance of peace that can be found in this sport of fishing. No TV's blaring, electronic games and email...just the breezes, soaking in the sunshine and plenty of time to listen to what God wants to say to our heart.

One definition for the word “cast” is to throw, hurl or fling something. Also, to throw away. If we take this definition and apply it to todays scripture, it means to basically throw all out cares away to God. How wonderful that we can do that without any guilt. We can give Him our worries about the children, job, finances, relationships. Everything that takes room in our hearts and minds that we have cared about but are powerless to control......He can handle it all. And it says, “He will sustain us”. So we can give Him all our troubles, cares and worries AND He will take care of us as well!! My cup runs over sometimes with concerns and thoughts of despair over situations. But we are to give them to Him. We are to empty our minds and hearts of the everyday troubles and only have a heart and mind for Him. Wise people remark that we are to focus on Him and not on our problems. Today I am going to mentally see myself on a pier or at the water's edge. I will cast my cares into the sea of God's Love and Security. I will remind myself that He already knows what is in my heart and mind, but that it is important for me to act in faith by releasing these things to Him. Casting it all to Him. Smiling at the Heavens knowing that regardless of anything, He promises to sustain me.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008


Reflections by the Sea © Betsy Ore Glass
October 01, 2008

Though it is the smallest of all your seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and perch in its branches. -Matthew 13:32 NIV

One definition for the word “autumn” is reaching maturity. Autumn is the time of year when the harvest comes in. The seeds planted in spring are ready to be harvested now. If summer droughts and disease didn't affect the plants and they made it through, then the harvest is to be celebrated. From just a tiny seed, so much is provided. This is a fun time of year to go to the various produce stands to see the pumpkin patch's, fruits, nuts and Indian corn. We have enjoyed decorating our home with a wreath of colorful fall leaves, nuts and acorns and miniature pumpkins. Each year when my children were little, we went to the country fields to walk the rows of pumpkins so they could each find their special one. We still laugh at the time I brought home a 75 pound pumpkin and had to strap it in the front seat with the seatbelt! Our front porch was always decorated with pumpkins, pots of mums and that handmade wreath. We even hung a cluster of Indian corn with a ribbon to the mailbox.

In our spiritual life, we can also enjoy the benefits of a harvest. But we do have to plant seeds first. So how do you do that? First it is the prayer of salvation that invites God into our heart. Making Jesus our Lord and Savior. Then it is reading the Bible to learn how to apply the principles to our life. Did you know the Bible will talk to us about how to have relationships, how to raise our children, how to be a light in the darkness? Probably the greatest thing any of us can do to strengthen our bond with God is to meet Him each day in prayer. Hopefully we should have a hunger and thirst for Him. Making time to do this is also an act of obedience and it is good discipline. It is as though we are showing up each day for our assignment from God. We can ask Him to mold and shape our day so that it glorifies Him.

Praying is like planting seeds. We know if we have done the work, the harvest will come. We know that in our prayer life, the harvest is when our prayers are answered with a solution or wisdom for being able to cope. Sometimes before we can plant seeds, we have to plow up the soil and amend it. The soil may not be good and if so, nothing will grow. That applies to us spiritually as well. Forgiveness and bitterness have to be pulled out by the roots. They are weeds in our garden. Letting go of anger and disappointment too. Again, more weeds. Only when the weeds are gone, and the soil is right can we plant our seeds with confidence. A harvest awaits us if we are willing to do the work. That is how we can begin to walk in spiritual maturity.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Turn It Around

Reflections by the Sea © Betsy Ore Glass
September 24, 2008

Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him! -Isaiah 30:18 NIV

It has always been fun for our family to wrap up the day by making a trip to the docks to see what the deep sea fishing boats have brought in. With every boat that leaves the marina and heads out to sea, it must at some point turn around and come back at the end of the journey. It's exciting to stand at the edge of the water watching the activity of the boats coming back into the marina, each taking their turn as only one can enter the opening at a time. Occasionally they will wave and we will wave back. The fishermen are dressed warmly and look tired and tanned, but content. People gather around to hear the days' stories of the sea. A chill in the air is felt as the warm sun begins to fade on the day. The helpers scurry around with hoses to wash the salt spray off the boats and to clean the decks in preparation for tomorrow.

I went deep sea fishing once. Yes, I say once. I was hoping that the captain would turn it around and take me back to land, which I was sure would cure my seasickness. Yes, I am one of those people!! But at least I have been able to capture some of the excitement of the sport from the docks at days' end since then.

This week there has been a song in my heart. It is about asking God to turn things around. To open the doors of heaven and pour our blessings. Yes, that has been my prayer this week, as well. The upcoming change of season has always been a call, a reminder if you will, to clean things up and sweep out the door anything that is not of God. In essence, its an act of faith to come closer to God. Old sin habits, old ways of thinking and in general, an attitude that is fruitless is of no benefit to anyone and is useless to God. We have to be willing to take the first step to “turn it around” . When we humble ourselves before Him with our repentant heart, He willingly receives us. We are coming into the season of harvest. God has so much to give us, so much to offer us. God is a God who restores. He heals. He forgives. He performs miracles. He pulls us up and over. He is gracious.

Thursday, September 18, 2008


Reflections by the Sea © Betsy Ore Glass
September 18, 2008

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. -Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV

Going through a recent hurricane, we had to anchor everything down. The winds were going to be strong and we couldn't take any chances on outdoor furniture being blown away. We were glad we did and all was well in the end. There are many ways to describe an is the obvious. A boat anchor to keep the boat in one place. Another description of anchoring is to tie an object down to provide security and safety. An anchor holds things in place like our furniture in a storm. Yet another is being the central person like my granddaughter who is the anchor for her school's closed circuit TV station to give daily news and lunchroom menu's. Without an anchor for their broadcast, information could not be given. Whether it is a broadcast, a boat or securing something in place, an anchor is very valuable.

When faced with difficulties or worries, my mind will wonder to the “what ifs”. Like many of us, it is easy to quickly go into a downward spiral, not seeing any solution or thinking the worst case scenario when we face big mountains in our life. Thinking only in the natural, not the supernatural. Then, by the grace of God, I am reminded to anchor my thoughts, problems, concerns in Him. I know I can do nothing on my own. I am nothing without Him. What is impossible with man is possible with God. Often times, there may be no visible solution. The prayers don't seem to be immediately answered. Is He Listening? Is there a disconnect between us? But, God does hear us. He is there. Every day is a lesson in Faith. By fearing anything or any problem or situation, we cancel out our faith. It is that simple. Trusting God to be our anchor everyday is what we are taught to do. God is our anchor. Our security. Our refuge in good times and bad.

Thursday, September 11, 2008


Reflections by the Sea © Betsy Ore  Glass
September 11, 2008

Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long. –Psalm 25:4-5 NIV

There is the little child that resides in each of us. In our pockets we tuck away our special hopes and dreams. Some we may share with others and some we may keep to ourselves. One definition for hope is to look forward with confidence or expectation and desire. To live a life that is full of hope improves our outlook. Having a childlike faith that carries hope in our hearts at any age is life-giving. God knows the desires of our heart as he probes our heart each day. We are taught to hope for the best in all situations. Easier said than done? Yes! Fear gets into the mix to steal our joy and our hope at times. But with God all things are possible. That can be easily forgotten when we run up against obstacles. Our hope sometimes fades away when we are told all the reasons something won’t happen or it won’t work as we had envisioned. Or we have waited a long time and nothing seems to be happening to make our wishes materialize. But never lose hope. Hope gives us something to live for, to look forward to. Hope gives sweetness to life. Sweet hope is stronger than the bitterness that creeps in. We can dream big and hope for much. The Believer aims to have a heart of hope rooted in faith at all times. Whatever hopes are the desires of your heart, be expectant. Today could be the day that your hopes bear fruit. Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord. –Psalm 31:24 NIV

Thursday, September 4, 2008


Reflections by the Sea © Betsy Ore Glass
September 04, 2008

Photography by Elizabeth Brown

Listen, my son, and be wise, and keep your heart on the right path. -Proverbs 23:19 NIV

I love the sounds of the beach! The crashing waves, the gulls sqwaking overhead. The jingle of shells in my pocket and the squeals of children playing by the shore. Even the sound of a squeeky back door that slams in the wind is music to my ears. A drippy outdoor shower is even calming to me. This time of year especially, there is the sound of the sea oats as they rustle together in the fall breezes. Many times a week, I put my hand into a bowl of assorted shells and let them fall from my fingers back into the bowl. Sometimes I think the wind has the sweetest sound as it blows between the old cottages and flaps a loose window shutter. It all feels like home to me.

I try to remain alert to the things around me and to listen to the Holy Spirit within me. For the last few weeks, the name of a old friend that I had lost touch with kept coming back to me, particularly in my morning prayer time. Over and over again. Day after day. I have learned that when God brings about a person like this, He wants me to pray for them as an intercessor. I prayed daily for God to meet my friend's needs and to surround her with angels for whatever she was going through. This week, the feeling was too overwhelming to ignore. Not only did I pray for her, I decided to try to find her. With the help of the internet, I did find my friend and called her. After 12 years, it was a wonderful reunion. It seemed like old times. She did in fact have things occuring in her life that needed prayer including two recent surgeries and more. The lesson is to be alert and listen to the prompting of the Holy Spirit. God talks to us through the Holy Spirit. Then just this past week, the names of an older couple in our family came to me in my prayer time. I asked God to protect them as that was the feeling I was receiving. I just learned that they were in a fender-bender but they were okay. Perhaps it would have been worse if prayers had not surrounded them. Listen for the voice of God. Don't think it is a coincidence when the name of someone comes to mind more than once. Instead, get on your knees and lift up a prayer on their behalf. Stand in the gap for them. It may be your prayers that make a difference in their life.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Making Memories

Reflections by the Sea © Betsy Ore Glass
August 27, 2008

A cheerful heart is good medicine -Proverbs 17:22a NIV

Labor Day is upon us and it marks the unofficial end to summer. Another school year begins, the weather begins to cool and vacationers begin their exodus back home. But hopefully, memories were made by all.

Recently, we had occasion to get together with our family for a fun weekend in Florida. Like many families, our time is limited when we can all come together at once and we are grateful for the chance to do so. We visited interesting places, walked the beach, strolled on a pier, ate good food and enjoyed the company of each other. My granddaughter put on some skits and sang to us by the pool and we applauded in unison. She used the water hose and the spray nozzle as her makeshift microphone. (Yes, we did record this for use at her wedding one day!!) We ate hamburgers fresh off the grill while we chatted about everything, catching up on everyone's life. Even the family pets jumped into our laps to get their share of attention! I looked around and saw that my daughter was content to read a book in the comfort of family nearby. My daughter in law and I frolicked in the pool as if we were kids. My husband, son and son-in-law found a project in the garage that required their expert attention. Like a proud mother taking stock of her brood, I was noticing that my family is growing and changing. It was a beautiful weekend. We made memories to tide us over until we can come together again.

In Proverbs, it says that a merry heart makes good medicine. Joy and laughter are essential to our good health. In the end, we can't take our possessions with us. What we do have that no one can take are our memories. Yes, there are things that have happened that we would prefer not to remember, and we can give those memories to God to take from us. I am talking about the happy times, the joyful times that have marked our life in lasting ways. I remember times with my grandmother when I was little. She went to heaven when I was just 9 but the memories of her love have lasted through my adult life. I have tried to give that to the little people in my family. Parents have to be disciplinarians and keep those rules, but I love being a grandmother because we can simply enjoy the children God has brought as blessings into our life. Our 11 year old granddaughter was so excited to have a picnic at the beach while we watched the sunset and picked shells. It doesn't have to take lots of money to make memories, just a little creativity and some time and most especially a prayer to invite God to be in our midst.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Walking the Beach

Reflections by the Sea © Betsy Ore Glass
August 15, 2008

Sing to him a new song; play skillfully, and shout for joy Psalms 33:3 NIV

Is there any better therapy or medicine than taking a long walk on the beach? Whether it is a brisk walk or a slow stroll, either way, it seems like a “cure-all” for me. During a walk, the sights and sounds overtake me and in no time, the cares of the world have faded. My mind is a blank canvas on which to paint future hopes and dreams on. I use this time of walking the beach to probe my heart and mind.

The feeling I experience of solitude and refreshment to my spirit from being at the beach isn’t anything that I can find anywhere else. Walking the beach is a passion of mine and it has been the setting for many conversations with God.

Do you have a passion in your life? Is there something that you can do or some place that you can go that energizes you and fills your spirit to overflowing? I observe that folks who have hobbies or interests that they are passionate about seem to live in joy and health. The happiest people I know are those that use their free time wisely and are active participants in life by exploring, experiencing and doing. God made us as individuals with feelings, emotions, talents and skills that are unique to us. He supplies us with time and energy. We should consider the gifts that He gives us as we seek a passion-filled life that glorifies Him.

Reflections by the Sea © Betsy Ore Glass
August 15, 2008

We wait in hope for the Lord; he is our help and our shield. -Psalm 33:20 NIV

A sturdy stairway is built using a combination of strength and balance. An experienced craftsman knows how to measure and cut the stringers, risers and treads to produce a beautifully functioning set of stairs. Custom made posts, balusters and rails compliment the structure and shows off the architectural creativity and experience of the craftsman. On the Outer Banks, there are many stairways that cross over the dunes to the beach. We are often so busy and intent on getting to the beach that we forget to notice the beautiful view from the stairways we must cross. And if we miss the view, we certainly miss the peace that comes with taking a moment to rest.

Many of us are not good at waiting for things to take their course. We live in an “instant” world, and we expect results too quickly at times. Trying to take over control by manipulating circumstances ourselves, or speeding up the process, really only prolongs the final outcome. We often can get in God’s way by interfering in His Plan for us. God is in charge. We can’t hurry Him. When we feel like He isn’t answering our prayers or giving us the guidance we seek, it doesn’t mean He has abandoned us. In fact, it is often quite the opposite. When we don’t see any evidence of our dreams and hopes materializing, we shouldn’t give up hope or lose faith. He hears our pleas and our prayers. He is actually orchestrating people and events around us so that when the time is right, He will begin to make things happen for us. It is all His timing, not ours. He knows our dreams. He knows our heart. So if our faith and trust are in Him, we can lay down our fears and worry and we can be confidant in our future. Like the engineering that goes into building a stairway using both strength and balance, we learn those components are vital in our life, too. There is a time for action and time for rest. The balance that He provides stabilizes us, teaches us lessons in patience and trust, while giving us the chance to be strengthened by Him.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008


Reflections by the Sea © Betsy Ore Glass
August 06, 2008

Jesus replied, "I tell you the truth, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, 'Go, throw yourself into the sea,' and it will be done.-Matthew 21:21 NIV

Hebrews 11:1 defines faith as being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. I once heard it said that it is faith that is the light that guides us through the darkness. A boat captain understands the importance of light to guide his vessel back to safety at night. Equally, a small child tucked in to his bed at night depends on the glow of a nightlight to comfort him if he wakes. Then sometimes we just feel the light fading in our life and our faith slipping away at the same time. It has happened to many of us. We want so hard to believe in God’s power and provision but our natural eyes can’t see anything supernatural in front of us, so our faith wanes and our unbelief builds. Thoughts and words come in like waves in a storm like “God will never heal me”; “my circumstances will never improve; “my child is never going to amount to anything” and so on. We can chase away our thoughts, but when we give our own voice to these thoughts by speaking them out loud or telling others, we are feeding the unbelief in our hearts and spirit so that it can take root on the inside of us.

So many times I have prayed to God to give me more faith, when actually I should have asked Him to bind the unbelief. The unbelief is not from Him. By not agreeing with those thoughts that come in our heads that rob of us our hope, we can be overcomers. There is always hope. This week a friend called to say they were going to close their business after a long struggle. It was taking its toll. They didn’t believe that it could work anymore. God has the answer but my advice was for them to seek God’s light. That He would shine light on the path they should take, to either stay the course or move on. How do we know it is God and not just us exercising our own will? God confirms it by the words spoken by a friend, the way circumstances are shaping up, or most of all, He uses His Word to speak to us. While we are waiting for God’s confirmation we can do what Robert Schuller says, “As you practice counting your blessings, you will find your faith is being suddenly revitalized.” This is the first step in being positive towards getting out of unbelief and back into faith living.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Pea Island

Reflections by the Sea © Betsy Ore Glass
July 30, 2008

The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. - Psalm 18:2

The Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge could also be called paradise. The refuge was established in 1937. It is one of the few places on the Outer Banks that appears untouched by man. The natural beauty of the changing dunes, grasses and vegetation is the perfect setting for the many ponds, flats and marshes found throughout this 13 mile stretch of land. With over 5,800 land acres, it is located north of Hatteras Island and 10 miles south of Nags Head. This is home to approximately 365 bird species. To be able to enjoy Pea Island today and all its inhabitants, we are grateful to those that had a vision many years ago to preserve this area for years to come

The beautiful beaches and serenity has always made Pea Island a favorite place for our family. A place to soul-search and be still. The beaches are perfect for long walks. It is important for each of us to have a special place to go. It is when we are quiet that we can hear God’s voice on the inside of us. He recharges us and breathes new life into us. When we become stale and stagnant, He gives us a push and guides us. He uses our times of solitude, meditation and worship as an opportunity to reveal things to us. Pea Island is a perfect place to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life to take time to enjoy the beauty He has surrounded us with. With just the sound of a distant bird, the ocean waves lapping the shore and the coolness of a summer breeze, Pea Island can be a refuge for us too!

Thursday, July 24, 2008


Reflections by the Sea © Betsy Ore Glass
June 24, 2008

Photography by Elizabeth Brown

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High Will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, My God, in whom I trust. -Psalm 91:1-2

The word “umbrella” comes from the Greek word “umbra” which means shade. The umbrella is over 4,000 years old. Ancient cultures used it for protection against the elements. It is said that the first umbrellas were used to provide shade from the hot sun. Then, the Chinese waterproofed their umbrellas with wax for use in the rain. They come in all shapes, colors and sizes. I couldn’t spend a day at the beach without one and others must surely agree, as the landscape is filled with colorful umbrellas as far as the eye can see on a hot day. Sitting in a shady spot under an umbrella provides a safe haven before venturing back out again in the summer sun. I enjoy seeing families huddled together in the shade talking and laughing… toddlers sitting in grandparents arms trying to wiggle free and responsible parents slathering on suntan lotion to the older kids to keep them from burning as they dart back and forth to the water’s edge. The umbrella is certainly our friend at a day on the beach with all the protection it provides.

Not a day goes by that I don’t ask for God’s protection for myself and my loved ones. I know that there are so many “near misses” in my day that it is God that saves me from cutting my finger at the cutting board, or prevents me from switching lanes while driving because there is a car in my blind spot. I know that He is there with His angels watching over all of us. It occurred to me that if we don’t pray for safekeeping for our family, especially our children, then who is? That is a sobering thought to realize that our family could be operating without His supernatural covering because we failed to pray. It is important to make it a part of our daily prayer life to seek the shade of His protection. “For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways.” Psalm 91:11.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


Reflections by the Sea © Betsy  Ore Glass
July 23, 2008

Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. -Psalm 51:10 NIV

Have you ever noticed that a heavy rain shower brings everything back to life again? That is especially the way it is at the beach. The days’ footprints and sandcastles are washed away by the rain and the beach is left pristine and sparkling. Everything looks clean and pure. The grasses and sea oats appear to be nourished from the drink of water. The rain has rinsed sand from off of the shells and they glisten in their shades of white, ivory, coral and pink. This is the beach in its purest form.

While the beach can only renew itself when it rains, we can renew ourselves each and every day with God’s help. We can wash away yesterday’s debris from our hearts and lives and ask to begin anew. God just needs us to ask and He will provide. To renew our spirit gives us a chance to start over. We can do it over again each day and make it better than before. We can start by being kinder, more generous, sympathetic, caring, more spiritual, compassionate, and more faithful. In our prayer time, we should ask for a pure heart and a renewed spirit to bind us closer to Him.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Surf Casting

Reflections by the Sea © Betsy Ore Glass
July 16, 2008

May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed. -Psalm 20:4 NIV

There is a quote that says, “Nothing great has ever been accomplished without enthusiasm”. Surf casters along the beach seem to have an abundance of enthusiasm. But to go with it, they have their rod and reel, the right tackle, the perfect line weight and some bait, too. Surf casting has been a long loved sport. Particularly, because it doesn’t require the expense and maintenance of a boat, it can be done anytime of day and anytime of the year. The seasoned angler will advise beginners to cast their lines near dawn or dusk, just before the high tide for best results. Having all the best fishing equipment is good, but being able to cast a line a long distance into the surf is where the experienced angler’s skill gives him or her the advantage.

The word ‘enthusiasm’ comes from the Greek work entheos. It means that God is in us. We all have experienced times when we were so excited about something, we felt like we were floating on air. Nothing else mattered. It was as if we were supernaturally lifted on high with hope, anticipation and excitement. To be enthused about something is infectious. Our happiness and energy spreads over to others. Joy fills the air and we know we are in God’s presence. Does enthusiasm exist in us today? Is our passion evident to others? Do we even have a passion? Get excited about something. If we put our whole hearts into a project, a mission, a goal or a dream, God will gives us the enthusiasm to keep us going in the tough times. If we think like God does, we will think big, dream big and expect to be blessed big.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Sea Birds and Shore Birds

Reflections by the Sea © Betsy Ore Glass
July 09, 2008

Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to this life? Matthew 6:26-27

Sea birds and Shore birds. These birds appear so peaceful and carefree. They make their existence look easy. Pelicans gliding together in graceful formation are a photographer’s treat. The little sandpipers that skirt the water’s edge are frenzied in a dance to keep their feet dry. The noisiness of the gulls as they scavenge down below and herons that high-step through the salty marshes are familiar sights on the coast. So many sea birds and shore birds living in and depending on the environment. It is true what today’s scripture shows us. The birds greet each day with an empty stomach and nothing stored up. The have expectant hope and faith that their needs will be met. Isn’t that an awesome display of faith!

Is it easy to identify with the phrase, “Always worrying about tomorrow, regretting yesterday and too busy to live in the present”? Maybe we can learn a life lesson from our feathered friends about faith and trust.

God says to trust Him. Give Him our needs and concerns. Philippians 4:6-7 tells us “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Worry, anxiety and fear do not line up with the Word of God. They are the chains that tie us down when God wants to lift us up!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Broken Shell

Reflections by the Sea © Betsy Ore Glass
July 03, 2008

Photography by Elizabeth Brown

Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. –Luke 6:37 NIV

When taking walks along the shore, the tendency has been to fill my pockets with only the perfect shells. Especially the shiny ones that are perfectly ridged and shaped for display at home. Yes, the perfect shells are beautiful and have that “shell shop” quality to them. But I have come to realize, that the broken shells are the ones that have the story to tell. They have been tumbled, stepped on and knocked around the ocean floor as the tides brought them to shore. They have weathered the storms and currents of the sea. I can relate to the broken shell, can you? Sometimes I don’t feel at the top of my game, in perfect condition or form. Life can take a swipe at us every now and then, and we are stung with painful circumstances or events that begin to chip away at us. A crack or a break in a shell makes it less desirable to the shell-seeker, but in our lives, the more storms we can weather and ride out, the more strength and wisdom we gain, which is another way of growing more spiritually.

There are only perfect shells, not perfect people. God doesn’t want us to try to be perfect because He knows and has taught us that it cannot be. Only He is perfect. He accepts us as we are. He loves us with our flaws, the mistakes we make and will continue to make. He loves the person He hopes we will become if we stay fixed on Him. Although we celebrate everyone’s uniqueness, there can be occasions where we can have a tendency to judge those that are different from us. To have a ministry of criticalness or to judge is not wise. Instead of our judgment, perhaps it is our help that is needed. Let our first instinct be to reach out, rather than to look down or look away. God calls us to love our neighbor as we love ourselves, especially those that seem most unlovable, like a broken shell.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


Reflections by the Sea © Betsy Ore Glass
June 17, 2008

Photography by Elizabeth Brown

Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much Luke 16:10a NIV

The time is nearing when many families will begin coming to the beaches for their summer vacations. The beach will appear festive from the vivid colors of the umbrellas that take their place in the sand. Bright colored beach towels and plastic beach balls will also be a part of the landscape at the beach. It reminds me of travelling to the Outer Banks when we were children for our week of vacation each year. There was such anticipation and excitement that surrounded that time. We learned to find enjoyment in every day. It was a good lesson to learn at a young age. We cherished the sunny days and played hard in the surf and sand. On the rainy days, we caught rainwater with our newly purchased pails and shovels and built sandcastles, under our cottage, held high on stilts. When we had too much sun on our tender skin, the family would take a day trip in the car to see the sights. At night there were card games, skating at the roller rink or family tournaments of putt-putt. No time was wasted, yet we returned home from vacation very rested and content.

Taking what we had and making the most of it, is a philosophy that has stayed with me through the years. I have observed some people that have very little, yet they live so rich. They use their talents and skills to create a contented, charming lifestyle and God seems to bless them with more. And then there are those folks that seem to have everything, yet they are disgruntled and greedy for more. I think God would have us enjoy each and every day that He gives us. There are hidden treasures in each day and it is our job to find them. Making the most of what we are given is showing our grateful appreciation to God for the many gifts and opportunities He has given us, and continues to give us daily. The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy. Psalm 126:3 NIV

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The Front Porch

Reflections by the Sea © Betsy Ore Glass
June 10, 2008

Photography by Elizabeth Brown

You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand. -Psalm 16: 11 NIV

The word “porch” comes from the Latin word porticus. It also comes from the Greek word portico. The origins of the first porches date back to prehistoric times and as architecture has evolved, so has the significance of the front porch. As cultures and lifestyles changed, people found they had more free time at the end of the day than ever before. They migrated outdoors to enjoy the cool breezes of summer, to watch children play in the yard and perhaps visit with nearby neighbors. The front porch served as a transition between the indoors and outdoors. Evenings on the front porch provided relaxation over lemonade and pie, singing, story telling and perhaps some advice was dispensed too, if asked for. Wicker chairs, rockers and porch swings were all part of the items found on the front porch. The comfort and sense of community can still be found today while porch sitting, enjoying family and friends.

Even if some of us don’t have a front porch, we can still capture those special times of family where there is sharing, talking and listening. My children seemed to talk most when we were in the car driving. My husband and I always enjoyed a pot of coffee together on Saturday mornings. It is about carving out time in our schedule to connect with each other. It is like that with God, too. Imagine that He is waiting for us on the porch. He has wisdom and love to give us. He just wants to be with us and He wants us to want to be with Him. We wouldn’t ignore our children or spouse day after day and we shouldn’t ignore Him. Having a relationship with God is more than giving Him an hour a week on Sunday. It is about feeling His Presence in all we do. Connecting with God is at the core of building a firm foundation in our spirituality. Our Father has much to give us, if we give Him the time.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Hurricane Season

Reflections by the Sea © Betsy Ore Glass
June 03, 2008

Photography by Liz Brown

When a man's ways are pleasing to the Lord, he makes even his enemies live at peace with him. -Proverbs 16:7 NIV

Hurricane season has officially begun. The weather forecasters all have their opinions about what is to come and have statistical data and projections to support them. But what exactly defines a hurricane? It is a swirling low- pressure system that originates in warm tropical waters. It rotates counterclockwise. To be classified as a hurricane, the wind must exceed 74 miles per hour. Many factors contribute to its strength or weakness, such as atmospheric conditions, ocean and other weather patterns in the vicinity. The speed and path of hurricanes are difficult to predict. It is written that the colonial Spanish and Caribbean Indians word for evil spirits and big winds was hurricane. Folks that are familiar with hurricanes know that the right side of the eye produces the storm surge, strongest winds and tornadoes.

Many of us have weathered storms of one kind or another on the Outer Banks. One day it is bright and sunny, beach umbrellas lining up at the shore everywhere and the next day, warning flags are posted, gale force winds begin blowing and flooding and erosion are imminent.

Storms are just limited to the weather forecast. If we are to be honest, we all have felt inner turmoil before as a storm seems to rage on the inside of us. Sometimes our own frustrations can run so high, that it is as though we have an emotional hurricane on the inside. Feeling frustrated with someone or a situation or being in conflict can many times cause us to act or react ungodly. Increasing unresolved emotions seem to intensify. They won’t go away by themselves. We cannot continue to stuff down these feelings as they may begin to affect us physically. Lifting up our frustrations to God through prayer is the way and He will do the rest. But God gives us wisdom too so that maybe we also could speak to that person honestly to find a way to work out a peaceful resolution. God will give us direction, courage, wisdom and patience to move out of conflict and into peace. He will also show us where we may need to take responsibility for our part of any conflict we find ourselves in. We can leave the storm of dissention behind as we find a Christian approach to a calmer future. It is peace where we will find our victory.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008


Reflections by the Sea © Betsy Ore Glass
May 28, 2008

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. – Hebrews ll:1 NIV

When my husbands’ work moved us from Texas to Florida a few months ago, it was hard to say goodbye to our home and friends. But God knows best and we set off for our new adventure, but not before finding a good home for my treasured plants. My favorite flower of all is the hydrangea. I managed to have two beautiful potted little plants that I had nurtured in my garage over the winter. I wasn’t sure if they would make it to spring, but I was hopeful. Small leaf buds were forming on the leggy branches before we left, so I decided to give them to our neighbors. They cared for them as well and when the first sign of spring came, they told me they planted them in a special place in their backyard and named it “Betsy’s Garden”. How touching. So sweet. They told me that by Mother’s Day recently, the hydrangeas were in full bloom!

Settling in our new surroundings in south Florida, we were told that hydrangeas simply don’t make it in this tropical, humid heat. But I had faith. I purchased a beautiful blooming hydrangea plant at Easter time and brought it home to enjoy indoors. Once the blooms were spent, I thought I would plant it in a roomy pot with the right soil and fertilizer and place it in a shady spot on my back patio to see what would happen. For a few months it just looked the same. No new growth and it seemed the insects has discovered it and were enjoying the leaves. But I still watered it daily and kept it out of the hot sun and smiled every time I walked passed it. I didn’t give up. A few weeks ago new growth appeared, the pale green leaves began to unfold. Then, yesterday, I noticed the crown of buds. Yes, it appears my hydrangea will bloom soon. I didn’t give up hope and belief that something good was coming!

There are many things in my life that I am believing God for. We are not to have weak faith. We are not to be faint of heart. What we pray for may not always make perfect sense, just like believing for a shady plant to thrive in an unfamiliar, hot climate. But all things are possible with God and His Promises are available to us if we have faith and believe. I have had to examine my own faith over time. I realized there were times that I believed God would do something for someone else, but not for me. Have you ever felt that way? I think I didn’t have faith in my faith!! It was when I learned to develop my faith and truly believe by reading His Word and believing it for myself that I began to be free from the fear and unbelief. I could have given up on my hydrangea plant and tossed it out, but I believed and finally, the reward is coming. Sometimes God brings about instantaneous results and other times, we may have to wait for years. But however long it takes, we can’t go wrong by using the time by building up our faith daily by reading His Word and believing He hears our prayers.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Taking Steps

Reflections by the Sea © Betsy Ore Glass
May 20, 2008

In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps. -Proverbs 16:9 NIV

Inside each of us are our dreams, hopes, desires and wishes. I love talking to little children about their dreams. They are so enthusiastic when they share their thoughts. There is a fresh innocence to their words that tumble so freely from their hearts. This time of year, the high school seniors are preparing for graduation as a new path unfolds in front of them. Many decisions await them about how to pursue their dreams and what steps to take. Graduating college students are ready to put their education to use as they seek their place in the world. But dreams aren’t just for the young. Changing careers, lifestyles or even moving from one place to another are all part of the process of redesigning ones’ life. But whatever it is that we feel we are “called” to do or pursue, we must always check with God first.

It is really His Plan for us that we should be following rather than going out on our own. I know this for sure. If we are operating within His Plan, His Umbrella of Protection, then we are on the right path. We may stumble and fall, we may even fail, but it is with the knowledge that sometimes God takes us down certain roads to build up our faith, to humble or to strengthen us before we can go further. He is constantly encouraging and teaching us through the daily experiences we encounter. But, what if nothing is happening? Maybe we don’t know if we are in God’s Plan or not. In fact, we may have put our dreams on hold for so long, we have given up. That is when we take those first steps. Martin Luther King, Jr. is quoted as saying, “Take the first step in faith. You don't have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.” It is important to follow up our hopes and dreams with action. We can trust God to open the doors for us if we are obedient and walking a godly path. He will surely close doors for us and redirect us if we get off course. It is as if He is taking us by the hand. We just have to trust Him.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


Reflections by the Sea © Betsy Ore Glass
May 13, 2008

Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. -2 Corinthians 9:6 NIV

This is the time of year that we begin to see flowers everywhere. They are in flowerbeds, blooming pots decorating decks and patios, blooms cascading out of window boxes and even flowers that are delivered as gifts in stunning bouquets to our door. There are no two flowers that are alike. They may be similar, but not identical. It is amazing that one flower of such beautiful color and beauty comes from just a tiny seed. One of my treasures is a small packet of seeds that my grandfather tucked away between the pages of a special book that I inherited. The seed packet was carefully folded over many times to keep the seeds from escaping. I have kept them for many years. It represents the lessons I learned from him of sowing and reaping through the example of his gardening. But that life lesson doesn’t only apply to seeds and flowers. It is biblical that what we sow, we reap.

For instance, take our attitudes and use of words. If we sow seeds of joy and encouragement in a person, they respond to that and flourish and bloom before our eyes. If we constantly show impatience, intolerance or annoyance at a person, we slowly crush their spirit. It is like depriving a beautiful flower of water, watching it slowly wilt.

All the flowers of tomorrow are the seeds of today. Robert Louis Stevenson said, “Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds you plant. Today I will look at the seeds I sow and determine if what I sow is pleasing to God. Galatians 5:22 says the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness and faithfulness. Those are the seeds we should be planting in our life and the lives of others. The scripture today suggests that we should be generous with our sowing. In doing so, an abundant harvest will come naturally.

Sunday, May 4, 2008


Reflections by the Sea © Betsy Ore Glass
May 04, 2008

My soul finds rest in God alone; My salvation comes from him. -Psalm 62:1

One year we rented a charming antique-filled cottage on the sound and it had two hammocks. That was great except there were four of us! The hammocks were situated on the front corners of the old style house secured by sturdy hooks on the ceiling of the covered porch. We each took turns “nesting” in our favorite hammock, complete with a pillow and even an old quilt to wrap up in at night while stargazing. It was great fun to see if two of us could comfortably fit in one of the hammocks together, but it was even more fun trying to get out of it without being spilled onto the floor!

What is more peaceful than a hammock? The inventor’s of the hammock, the Spaniards, originally wove threads together from the Hammok tree dating as far back as the 1600’s. What originated as a tropical invention has now swept across all boundaries and cultures as a useful, functional piece of furniture, inside and out. The gentle swaying motion of the hammock can be hypnotic. Being cradled in one is the ultimate in rest and relaxation. The troubles and cares of the world instantly disappear and for that moment or two, we are lost in our own deep world of solitude and peace. The hammock is accommodating of any age or any sized person.

It is fitting that on Mother’s Week we talk of solitude and peace. It is something that many mothers don’t get enough of. But whether we are mothers or not, we each know our limits and we instinctively know when to withdraw long enough to recharge our batteries. Luke 5:16 says that “Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed”. When we long for a lazy day in a hammock, that is our cue to find a quiet place and commune with Him. God can meet us anywhere, even in a hammock. He will restore, renew and revitalize our spirit if we make the time to find rest in Him.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Daily Walk

Reflections by the Sea © Betsy Ore Glass
May 01, 2008

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. -James 4:7 NIV

A daily walk is a good thing to do. It exercises our bodies and it promotes good health. A walk can be taken early in the morning, during a lunch break or at the end of the day. It doesn’t matter when the daily walk is taken. What does matter is that it is not forgotten. There is another daily walk that is important too and that is our daily time with God. But, somehow it is often the first thing that is shelved when a day becomes busy and overloaded. Everything else becomes a priority and God is left to wait for us to show up later. A daily dialogue with God is not only the most important time we will spend each day, we should try to make that time first before anything else.

But, what happens if we become lazy and put God off day after day? No longer seeking God’s help and protection, we unknowingly open the door to the enemy. Fear, bitterness, anxiety, resentment and anger are just a few of the spirits that can come upon us and they are all destructive and harmful to our minds, bodies and souls. Our attitude and outlook turns sour and negative. Our vision is clouded. We become oppressed and find it hard to “shake off”.

So, what is the benefit of this daily walk with God? One of the benefits of spending daily time with God is that it keeps us in dialogue with Him. We will begin to discern His Voice inside of us giving us guidance and direction. He is our protection and our shield. In our daily time with God we should repent of our mistakes and failings and be sincere and genuine. It means that we start off each day forgiven with a new heart and a new start. We learn that we can live in a place of blessing. While a daily walk exercises the body, a daily walk with God engages our faith. Why not do both? Each day can be a new beginning, knowing God is on our side in all we do. He brings us the light and chases away the darkness. He is the Light.

Sunday, April 27, 2008


Reflections by the Sea © Betsy Ore Glass
April 17, 2008

Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long. –Psalm 25:4-5 NIV

There is the little child that resides in each of us. In our pockets we tuck away our special hopes and dreams. Some we may share with others and some we may keep to ourselves. One definition for hope is to look forward with confidence or expectation and desire. To live a life that is full of hope improves our outlook. Having a childlike faith that carries hope in our hearts at any age is life-giving. God knows the desires of our heart as he probes our heart each day.

We are taught to hope for the best in all situations. Easier said than done? Yes! Fear gets into the mix to steal our joy and our hope at times. But with God all things are possible. That can be easily forgotten when we run up against obstacles. Our hope sometimes fades away when we are told all the reasons something won’t happen or it won’t work as we had envisioned. Or we have waited a long time and nothing seems to be happening to make our wishes materialize. But never lose hope. Hope gives us something to live for, to look forward to. Hope gives sweetness to life. Sweet hope is stronger than the bitterness that creeps in. We can dream big and hope for much. The Believer aims to have a heart of hope rooted in faith at all times. Whatever hopes are the desires of your heart, be expectant. Today could be the day that your hopes bear fruit. Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord. –Psalm 31:24 NIV

Monday, April 21, 2008


Reflections by the Sea © Betsy Ore Glass
April 21, 2008

Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come. buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk, without money and without cost. Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare. Give ear and come to me; hear me, that your soul may live. Isaiah 55: 1-3

Their small bodies and large wings don’t just occur overnight. There is quite a journey that the beautiful butterfly must go through before it emerges as the winged creature that we love to adore. This journey is a metamorphosis. The life cycle from lowly caterpillar to delicate butterfly takes time and great effort to reach its final stage. Once mature, the butterfly feeds on nectar from flowers and flutters about in search of a mate. We can thank the butterfly for its contribution towards playing a key role as a pollinator in our gardens.

Our Christian life is a journey, too. We begin to give up our old ways and turn over a new leaf as we learn about values and ways of living that are pleasing to God. It takes time to read the stories in the Bible and it takes more time to memorize scripture. There is no shortcut. No crash course. It requires daily effort from us to keep on the journey. We have to do our part. Just going to church on Sunday is not enough. Hopefully we are taking time each day for praise and thanksgiving, along with our prayers and then some time to listen. Many answers to our prayers are found in the Bible. We can get so much out of it if we just take a few minutes a day to read. The book of Psalms is a great place to begin or if you are seeking wisdom, Proverbs offers great advice. Perhaps you want to start with the four Gospels in the New Testament. It doesn’t matter where you begin, but that you begin. Where are we in our metamorphis as a Christian? A good question to ask ourselves. Drinking from the water of the Bible will fill us to overflowing with all good things from God. Then we can be like the butterfly and go from here to there, sharing what God has taught us.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Wildflowers and Flowers

Reflections by the Sea © Betsy Ore Glass
April 10, 2008

Moreover, when God gives any man wealth and possessions, and enables him to enjoy them, to accept his lot and be happy in his work - this is a gift of God. – Ecclesiastes 5:19 NIV

April marks the beginning of a show of color from various types of natural, coastal wildflowers and flowers. Many are endangered and protected to ensure their annual return for all to enjoy. From April to October, many flowers dot the sides of highways, beach paths and back roads. One of the most common is Gaillardia or also known as Indian Blanket. Flowers that grow on the barrier islands are especially hardy as they must endure severe conditions and salt spray. Wildflowers will spring up anywhere. They aren’t necessarily choosy about their location. Just as long as they have a sandy soil, sunshine and water, they put on a spectacular display of beauty.

Happiness is a choice we make. The wildflowers don’t seem to be affected if they are too close to the road or next to a field of weeds. They flower anyway. We can learn a lesson or two from nature. Many times we allow our circumstances to affect our ability to be happy. It has happened to all of us at one time or another. But just being aware that our circumstances have no control over us unless we allow it is a beginning. Learning to overcome the problems or situations with a glad, happy attitude will improve our quality of life. It is not usually the big things. It’s the little things that can affect us the most. God would rather change us than change our circumstances. He is always trying to grow us spiritually and He helps us to stand upright. The wildflowers find contentment wherever they end up. If we trust God that He has us right where He wants us at this moment, then we don’t have to live in wonder, frustration or anxiety about our circumstances. It doesn’t matter if our life appears to be a field of weeds, or if we are in a drought. It is all according to His Purpose. He can make a difference in our life in every way. But it is up to us to choose to be happy.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Tending the Garden

Reflections by the Sea © Betsy Ore Glass
April 03, 2008

This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. –Psalm 118:24 NIV

I love spending time with children because of their joy and gladness. This week my granddaughter is staying with us. Her morning cheerfulness and evening laughter warms our heart. As with most children that visit grandparents, she has come with her best manners, is very polite and aims to please. We are thrilled to have the company and love hearing all about her life, thoughts and dreams. Each day we have something planned, but she has learned this week, that before we set out to do anything, we first have our prayer time with God. Her shyness about praying out loud has given way to making an enthusiastic list of things to talk to God about. She is like a flower that is blossoming before our eyes. She recites with pride the Bible verse we learned in the morning to her grandfather over dinner in the evening. We are witnessing her faith growing stronger each day. Our special time will end when she returns home in a few days, but hopefully with each visit, we are building that spiritual foundation that will support her in her journey through life.

The cheerfulness and gladness that children bring into our adult world are not just reserved for them. We can have it, too! It is about making a choice. We can greet the day with a good attitude, happiness and a heart that is grateful …or not. The opposite of happiness is grumbling, complaining, murmuring, and feeling discontent. (Philippians 2:14) Then before long, negativity and a critical spirit joins in too. This past week, I was given a collection of stories that were good, funny and entertaining. I passed them on to another to share. That person chose to remark on the misspellings and seemed to miss the content all together. The critical spirit that lives within her prevented her from fully enjoying the stories. It is not God that gives us a critical spirit. He doesn’t cause us to become negative. “Well” you say, “That’s just the way I am and I have always been that way”. Criticalness and negativity are like weeds in a beautiful flower garden. There is no place for them. We must tend our own garden and yank out the weeds each day. With God’s help, move out of the negative and into the positive. Spend time with a child and see the joy that bubbles up from them. It’s contagious! Sometimes, I think we believe as adults that we are teaching the children, but often times, the children are teaching us!