Archive for October, 2019

Am I Really Ready to Blog Again?

Oct 03 2019 Published by under Uncategorized

It’s been such a long time. The posts previous to this one are from 2012! So very much has happened since then. Everything has changed. I fled a controlling church. Thank God I made it out; later, they killed a kid. My kids grew up and left home. I got a job. Sold the house. Left the husband. Left the state and moved to the other side of the continent.

I’ve seen more tragedy and loss the past four years than ever before.

I’ve been so heartbroken that I haven’t sung a song in a few years. Still, the desire to write flickers in my soul. I feel empty and lifeless, though, as if I’m trying to pour liquid out of a vessel but it’s bone dry. I hope this is all just part of the grieving process, and I get better. Not too sure. I don’t see the end of the tunnel right now. All I can do is ride the massive waves of melancholia and wait it out.

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By the Skin of the Teeth

Oct 03 2019 Published by under Uncategorized

Did you know that the phrase “by the skin of my teeth” is a phrase from the Bible book of Job? 

Job 19:20
My bone clings to my skin and to my flesh, and I have escaped by the skin of my teeth.

Anyway, I digress. My bones and skin are just fine, but this poor blog has been on a starvation diet. Life has this knack of overwhelming its inhabitants. A month ago, I’d received a notice that this domain was set to expire, and I was willing to let it go. But at the last minute (literally), I decided to save it for one more year. Not that anyone is reading this… my posts are so sparse and sporadic that I have surely repelled all readers by now. People like updates and I have failed miserably. Oh well, I’ve been through times when it’s just me, and that’s OK. 

Oddly enough, this is from Job chapter 19:

19 All my associates abhor me,
And those I love have turned against me.

20 My bone clings to my skin and my flesh,
And I have escaped only by the skin of my teeth.

21 Pity me, pity me, O you my friends,
For the hand of God has struck me.

22 Why do you persecute me as God does,
And are not satisfied with my flesh?

23 Oh that my words were written!
Oh that they were inscribed in a book!

24 That with an iron stylus and lead
They were engraved in the rock forever!

25 As for me, I know that my Redeemer lives,
And at the last He will take His stand on the earth.

26 Even after my skin is destroyed,
Yet from my flesh I shall see God;

27 Whom I myself shall behold,
And whom my eyes will see and not another.

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This Is My Father’s World

Oct 03 2019 Published by under Uncategorized

Well, the maxim “You learn something new every day” just may prove true, in my case. 

Later this evening (or, more accurately, earlier this morning), the song This Is My Father’s World was my meditation. I had never looked up the origin of the hymn, so I did tonight (this morning– er, never mind). The information surprised me (insert strains of It’s a Small World After All here). 

This Is My Father’s World was written by Presbyterian clergyman Maltbie Davenport Babcock. He was born in Syracuse, not far from my own childhood home. He studied at Auburn Theological Seminary (another childhood city) which I don’t think even exists anymore. Babcock’s grandfather was Hamilton College’s second president (Hamilton College is very near to where I currently live). 

Babcock and his wife were living in Lockport, New York (near Buffalo), when he penned a little poem he called This Is My Father’s World. He was inspired by the sweeping views of Niagara Falls and Upstate New York from his walks along the dramatic Niagara Escarpment. 

Babcock died suddenly in Naples, Italy, in 1901. He was only 42 years old. At the time of his death, he was a somewhat famous minister, very much beloved and holding prestigious positions in Baltimore, Maryland, and New York City. 

His wife, Katherine Babcock, published the poem after his death. She also published a small devotional book Babcock had written, Thoughts For Everyday Living. The book contains sweet little musings and meditations such as this: 

Men are convinced more quickly and certainly by what they see than by what they hear. It is not, “Let your lips speak,” but “Let your light shine.” The living epistle is not know and heard of all men but known and read.

In 1919, Franklin L. Sheppard wrote music to This Is My Father’s World. I love the melody. It supposedly came from an old English song. 

This is my Father’s world, and to my listening ears
all nature sings, and round me rings the music of the spheres.

This is my Father’s world: I rest me in the thought
of rocks and trees, of skies and seas; his hand the wonders wrought.

This is my Father’s world, the birds their carols raise,
the morning light, the lily white, declare their maker’s praise.

This is my Father’s world, he shines in all that’s fair;
in the rustling grass I hear him pass; he speaks to me everywhere.

This is my Father’s world. O let me ne’er forget
that though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the ruler yet.

This is my Father’s world: why should my heart be sad?
The Lord is King; let the heavens ring! God reigns; let the earth be glad!

I like the tune because it is so simple. The words are so sweet. I can imagine young Rev. Babcock watching the sun rise or the leaves rustling on the majestic New York hills.

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Production(2) – 24:00/day = Muse/2

Oct 03 2019 Published by under Uncategorized

How ironic. As soon as I sit down to pen my thoughts, the washing machine just ended its cycle and is beckoning me to transfer the loads… 

Excessive industry seems, in my opinion, to squelch deep thought. I’ve often pondered this topic before. Stay-at-home mothers, for example, are usually typecast as addle-brained floozies incapable of linear thought. This isn’t necessarily because mothers are lacking something. On the contrary, it’s because mothers are overflowing with something: work. 

Excessive work leaves little time for thinking. The wealthy have much more idle time and therefore more opportunity to ponder and muse. 

I am not trying to provoke a class warfare here. It’s an observation. 

And this is the long way of explaining my absence. I do think about this blog, wondering and plotting my next post. But an onslaught of industry has prevented me from doing anything. From thinking. I am, after all, a stay-at-home mother.

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Men Avoid Women’s Blogs

Oct 03 2019 Published by under Uncategorized

Is it true? I think it’s true. 

I was considering participation in The Simple Woman’s Daybook. I like the questions and they are good blog conversation starters. But then I wondered if men would read the post, because it would contain the word “woman’s” in it. Even worse, it includes “simple” and “daybook,” denoting a post filled with a woman’s thoughts and feelings. Don’t men, overall, avoid such discourse?

Certainly some men enjoy reading womens’ blogs– that is, blogs written by women. But do men enjoy reading WOMEN’S BLOGS — blogs written by women ABOUT women? I think not. 

What are your feelings? thoughts?

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Rhyme & Reason

Oct 03 2019 Published by under Uncategorized

Lord knows I have enough blogs out in cyberspace. But I have been feeling somewhat pensive, perhaps a bit melancholy, and I wanted to start something new to perk me up a bit. After trying out a number of domain names (Thrive was taken), I decided on This Mortal Life. I am in love with the name, truly. I took it from one of my favorite hymns, A Mighty Fortress. The words speak to my heart, currently, as they tell of the formidable attack of that mean foe, satan, and laud victory in the risen Lord.

A Mighty Fortress, Martin Luther

A MIGHTY fortress is our God,
A bulwark never failing;
Our helper he, amid the flood
Of mortal ills prevailing.
For still our ancient foe
Doth seek to work us woe;
His craft and power are great;
And, armed with cruel hate,
On earth is not his equal.

Did we in our own strength confide,
Our striving would be losing,—
Were not the right man on our side,
The man of God’s own choosing.
Dost ask who that may be?
Christ Jesus, it is he,
Lord Sabaoth his name,
From age to age the same,
And he must win the battle.

And though this world, with devils filled,
Should threaten to undo us;
We will not fear, for God hath willed
His truth to triumph through us.
The prince of darkness grim,—
We tremble not for him;
His rage we can endure,
For lo! his doom is sure,—
One little word shall fell him.

That word above all earthly powers—
No thanks to them—abideth;
The Spirit and the gifts are ours
Through him who with us sideth.
Let goods and kindred go,
This mortal life also;
The body they may kill:
God’s truth abideth still,
His kingdom is forever.

I tell my children that I want that last stanza on my tombstone, it means so much to me.

For now, I blog. Here is where I expect to express my more serious thoughts, unencumbered by advertisers and sponsored posts who demand so much of my other blogs. I can be as unadorned and plainspoken and boring and poetic as I wish, here.

Thank you for joining me.

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The Muse

Oct 03 2019 Published by under Uncategorized

Some may wonder why I chose such a strange header image and title description for the blog. Others who know me as Rebecca may wonder why I use the strange pseudonym Polyhymnia here. I will explain.

The Blog Name

As I stated previously, This Mortal Life comes from a line in a hymn written by Martin Luther, A Mighty Fortress is Our God. It is a hymn very beloved to me. You can read the powerful lyrics and my thoughts on the hymn in my post Rhyme and Reason. It was not my original name choice, but it’s much better than my original choice and I am so glad the domain name was available. 

The Psuedonym, Polyhymnia

Polyhymnia was one of the Greek Muses. The Muses were represented by the Greeks as women, embodiments of the arts such as tragedy, comedy, dance, and astronomy. The Nine Muses are depicted in my header image, which is a sketch of an engraving from the 2nd century Muses Sarcophagus, currently on display at the Louvre in Paris. The Nine Muses represented:

Polyhymnia seemed to fit me best for this blog. Diodorus Siculus wrote, “Polyhymnia, because by her great praises she brings distinction to writers whose works have won for them immortal fame…” She embodies the pensive seriousness that I wanted for this blog. She also probes deeply into the meanings of hymns and stories, something that comes naturally to me. 

To the ancient Greeks, sacred hymns meant something completely different than the Biblical hymns I adore. But the Greeks created their hymns before they knew of Christ. After hearing the gospel, they were one of the most supportive ethnic and political groups that embraced Christianity. So much of what the Greeks had created in their culture had prepared them for Christ. When they heard that He had come, they were ready to embrace Him. 

The Blog Description

This is a line from Dante Aligheiri’s Divine Comedy. He mentions Polyhymnia by name in the section Paradise, Canto XXIII, line 55.

Now were all
Those tongues to sound, that have, on sweetest milk
Of Polyhymnia and her sisters, fed
And fatten’d; not with all their help to boot,
Unto the thousandth parcel of the truth,
My song might shadow forth that saintly smile,
How merely, in her saintly looks, it wrought.
And, with such figuring of Paradise,
The sacred strain must leap, like one that meets
A sudden interruption to his road.

But he, who thinks how ponderous the theme,
And that ’tis laid upon a mortal shoulder,
May pardon, if it tremble with the burden.

The phrase seemed to fit very well with my blog title and my way of life right now. Despite the hectic pace of life, the sacred strain must dominate my journey. Sometimes it has to jump up and over obstructions. 


I don’t mean to sound more educated (aka, snobby) than I am. I have always loved Greek history and hymns and literature, but my education is very spotty in these topics. Still, I am attracted to the beauty of them. The language of literature and verse has a delightful cadence and the words are so filled with meaning. I can overlook the primitive pagan influences of the Greeks and see how they were searching for God through His creation. I am reminded of Psalm 19: 

Day to day pours forth speech,
And night to night reveals knowledge.

There is no speech, nor are there words;
Their voice is not heard.

Their line has gone out through all the earth,
And their utterances to the end of the world.
In them He has placed a tent for the sun,

Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber;
It rejoices as a strong man to run his course.

Its rising is from one end of the heavens,
And its circuit to the other end of them;
And there is nothing hidden from its heat.

The law of the LORD is perfect…

So anyway, this is my blog, defined. I hope I have answered some curious questions about its design. Thanks for reading.

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Hello world!

Oct 03 2019 Published by under Uncategorized

Welcome to WordPress. This is your first post. Edit or delete it, then start writing!

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