Bells of the Valley (2012) | Back to Top
From the archipelago of Stockholm to her adopted home-land, Israel, Betsy Ramsay shares her perspective on historical events through poetry that is at once whimsical and epiphanic.
The contents reflect various aspects of her life in Israel, travels abroad, and meditations in her garden. A fellow classmate, Dottie Buenger Richardson, writes on the book's back cover: "Throughout the whole collection cascades of short (often run-on) lines create an epigrammatic, sometimes gnomic effect, and draw the reader actively as partner in creating meaning."
The poetry…is both insightful and inspiring as it transcends the mundane by pulling the reader in, to experience something of the sublime. As I read and reread Betsy's poems, I was transported to a timeless encounter where I felt the solemn heartbeat of her profound meditations. Her poetry has nourished and enriched my soul..
—Eila Goldberg, fellow believer and citizen of Israel
…[Betsy Ramsay] speaks tellingly…of the state of her adopted homeland, Israel, often through vivid vignettes. For example, in Safe for the Children "bright-eyed boys / in dark trousers, yarmulke and white shirts / side-saddle cockwise / down outdoor stair rails / while sauntering to / Bar Mitzvah classes" "will venture their lives (for their country) / five years hence." In this group of poems, a number gain resonance and depth through their interplay with Biblical epigraphs.
—Dorothy Richardson, college classmate at Wellesley
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On The Wings of the Wind (2009) | Back to Top
This book, hot off the press, is my personal memoir. My husband and I were two young people deeply in love in the 1950s. Yet, we never managed to make a go of our marriage. Our lives originated from such different worlds—I from a Jewish family in the American middle upper class and he from the top ranks of the nobility in Finland where the Victorian lifestyle of the aristocracy was more than a relic of the past. Both of us were searching in our own ways for a faith that would hold firm both over high mountains and through the dark valleys.
Writing this years later when the turbulence of that period has grown tranquil, there’s one thing I am convinced of: Despite all our youthful follies there is ever a shaping hand behind the happenings in
our lives. God at times allows us to go through deep waters in order
to refine our character for His own purposes.
One question evoked here is if people must inevitably become victim to
their environment, trapped in the culture of former generations, or is
there power available to rise above circumstances to a life on a
higher plane? A type of resurrection for the broken hearted and
crushed in spirit? These are questions which will come to mind as you
read this engaging and poignant, memoir.
A Red Anvil Book Published by Elderberry Press.
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Crystal Fragments (2008) | Back to Top
This is a story of my grandfather, a Jewish teacher and rabbi, and life in Germany for the Jewish people before and after Hitler’s ominous rise to power. His own account which he labored to make available for posterity, forms the basis for the book.
Leo Waldbott was forced, on the infamous date of November 10, 1938, to flee his home of 47 years and take refuge with another Jewish family whose safety was also under threat. Earlier the same day he had seen the home for the Jewish elderly burned to the ground—a home established on his initative in 1914 and which had been his pride and joy.
This is a story of incredible protection that helped my grandfather survive the madness of the Hitler regime. There were even certain Nazis who protected him.
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Cecil Centipede's Career (2006) | Back to Top
This book is about a centipede, Cecil, who sits counting his legs one day, and is confused to discover he has not 100 legs but 101. Embarrassed about his abnormality, he runs away and joins the circus.
I first composed this story for a class assignment in grade school and re-discovered it years later stashed away in a box of long forgotten memories. As I re-read it, I imagined how the story could make an entertaining picture book for children. The rhyming lines and color illustrations are a more recent addition.
From a reader’s comment on back cover of book:
“Cecil’s Career” is charming, funny and clever. The author gently teaches big truths about being “different” and about the welcome and safety of a loving home.
Published by Authorhouse, Illustrations by Therese Christman
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Honung och Vete (2003, Swedish) | Back to Top
Some years ago an elderly lady I knew came up to me and said, “I have had your poetry book, Handfuls of Grain, on my bedside table for a year and I’ve been translating the poems into Swedish.”
After this happened I decided to work with this lady on translating the poems for a collection in Swedish. It didn’t happen over-night. A good frind and English teacher in the Swedish high school joined us and we began to meet in this dear lady’s home on Friday evenings. Together we did the translations of poem after poem, selecting them from my two poetry collections then in print.
Today I have friends in Sweden who enjoy reading my poetry and never would have benefited from the English versions. The poems trace my own spiritual pilgrimage and are devotional in focus.
Says Karin Hartman, a well-known lady of letters in the Swedish literary world:
The book is packed with sensitive and refreshing observations from nature and it also contains humor. The author is ever searching for the divine mystery beneath the outward signs and she has a gift for discovering spiritual applications in everything she observes.
If you know Swedish (or you know someone who does!) keep this book in mind. It makes a nice gift.
Illustrations by Birgitta Johansson.
To buy this book, please email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Burning Light (2002)| Back to Top
I came up with the idea of writing this book while reading Moshé Pearlman’s monumental work, The Maccabees, and couldn’t help visualizing how the ingenious battle strategies of Judah Maccabee and his brothers against the colossal armies of Antiochus Epiphanes would make excellent story material for children. It was easy to imagine the significant roles that a child could have played in the drama.
From the book’s back cover:
When Galit and Gidon, two children from modern-day Tel Aviv, are magically transported to the scene where the drama [of the Maccabees] began, you will come with them. The children are major actors in the action that unfolds, as when Gidon and Eliram, working as scouts for Judah Maccabee, spy on the enemy camp and barely escape with their lives. You'll follow the children in each new adventure where faith in the God of Israel is a prime factor.
Galit and Gidon pick up new friends from the period as the story moves along. In the final chapters there are five children making the long-awaited expedition to Jerusalem to reclaim the Temple.
When Gidon and Galit, awaking from their magical dream, return home to Tel Aviv, it is intriguing to find evidence remaining that what the children experienced in their adventures, may have actually happened.
From a review by Leslie Cohen in The Jerusalem Post:
[This] Chanuka story will delight children who love adventure.
From a young reader:
This book would be fun to read any time of the year…It is funny and exciting… The kids learn a lot… There are battles and soldiers on elephants, friends and enemies, poisoness snakes and slave traders, surprises and miracles, angels and secret hiding places. The whole story of Chanukah is told in an exciting way. Our Mom read two chapters every day to us… but the words were easy enough that I could have read it by myself…
Legender om Biskopen i Myra (2008, Swedish) | Back to Top
From the back cover (in Swedish):
Denna bok bygger på kända legender om Nikolaus, som var biskop i Myra i Mindre Asien - nuvarande Turkiet - på 300-talet. Det är hans liv som har get upphov till myten om Santa Claus och jultomten.
Författaren Betsy Ramsay, blev inspirerad of legenderna om honom och började göra historiska efterforskningar for att kunna formedla berättelserna på ett sätt som skulle få barn att uptäcka den Herre som Nikolaus tjänade.
* * *
This book was published by Normans förlag in 1995 and can be purchased from a number of Christian bookshops in Sweden or from Swedish used book shops. Österlens Antikvariat, OSBY, Sweden may still be carrying
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Footsteps (1995, English and Swedish) | Back to Top
A good friend and illustrator of my books urged me to look into the background of the man from whom Santa came. The miracle legends I found while poring through library material fired me to write a story about a personality far more interesting than the jolly, white-bearded Santa children wait for at Christmas. I began binding into one tale the legends surrounding the ancient Bishop Nicholas whose clerical authority in the fourth century extended throughout the Province of Lycia and the eastern seaport town of Myra in present-day Turkey.
The tales have followed and outlived this saintly man for over sixteen centuries. Whether or not they actually took place, they contain a compelling nugget of truth and an example of true piety well worth remembering.
Children enjoy this book because it is written with simplicity and a quaint, old-fashioned charm. At the same time it brings the readers in touch with an epoch of martyrs and persecutions and
catches the imagination of children of all ages.
Minerva Press writes:
These charming tales are retold for young readers with sensitivity and originality.
Some drawings from the book:
Armed soldiers arresting the young Bishop Nicholas. (Larger view)
Martina feeling a gnawing in her tummy. (Larger view)
Three burly pirates in smelly clothes working on the wharves. (Larger view)
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Handfuls of Grain (1983)| Back to Top
Nathaniel C. Nash, former editor in the Sunday Business Section of the New York Times, wrote on the back cover of this book:
Writing verse exposes the human soul more than any other form of expression. Fears, joys, sorrows, hopes all spring from their hiding places as the poet distills life into a few short phrases…Betsy Ramsay’s poetry is an honest and tender reflection of the frailty and strength of a mother, a widow, a lover of nature and a fervent believer in Jesus as her Messiah.
To Betsy, Jewish by descent…a crisp, spring day brings thoughts of joy for God's caring love. Rusty nails in an old board lead her to ponder the crucifixion. Burrs sticking to her stockings tell of hidden blessings. Through her poetry you feel the morning dew, smell the fragrant countryside, hear the cricket's chorus and above all become acquainted with the love of God and the kindness of the Messiah's sacrifice…
All things combine
to herald Jesus
and tell that the Creator is kind
Who made us.
Each blade of grass
that seeks the heavens
adds its word and voice.
Apple blossoms cover the trees
as His love covers us.
Let Us Put on the Armor of Light (1974)| Back to Top
Adolescence is the age for the writing of diaries. Those who keep it up all their lives, so far from attaining the desired maturity, remain perpetually adolescent…
writes Dr. Paul Tournier, a distinguished Swiss psychiatrist. Dr. Tournier's comment, though it cannot be stretched to cover all poetry, can cover many of these poems which at their best were my particular method of keeping a diary in my adolescence.
As I prepared this book I did it with pity and tenderness for teenagers and adolescents who, as I was in those years, are suffering through the same alternating periods of gloom and elation, high hope and despair, people who, as Dr. Tournier goes on to say, "have by no means succeeded in integrating themselves."
The earlier poems were penned before I came to faith in Yeshua. I believe they capture some of the emotions, flounderings and longings of young people generally, particularly those who may be looking for God as I was. I prayerfully sought to put these in order, not meaning to declare my own early uncertainties but so that some young people might take courage and gain new insights because of my experiences.
There's a white gleam
in the day
From our newly-painted fencepost
and from our joy…
Let not sadness nor sorrow
cage in a pen
the muse in my heart!
let it sing-ng-g
as birds do.
let me celebrate
my moments with You!