Thursday, July 31, 2014

God looks at the heart

But the Lord said to Samuel, "Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.

Samuel was commanded to go to Jesse and annoint the one God had chosen to be king. The one he thought must be God's choice was NOT the one. And neither were Jesse's sons until the youngest -- who was a shepherd -- was brought to Samuel ... a kind of Cinderella story, I think.

Yesterday I saw someone I hadn't seen in some while. She asked how I am. I said, "OK." She looked at me. "Just OK? You usually are smiling and happy. What's wrong?"

So I know I am naturally inclined to have a happy and contented heart. The problem is less me than I thought. The kind words were the balm my spirit needed. I am encouraged. I am uplifted and set on my feet. As everything around me continues the cycles that lead us all, propel us forward, I am gaining my strength and vision again so I might achieve those goals the Lord God has for me because he knows my heart. He judges my heart.

And to my friends and followers who might not hold the same beliefs as I do, please do not be offended by this series of blogs of the heart. I am on a journey to define the heart and this is the most logical place for me to start.

(c)2014 Cathy Thomas Brownfield. All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

At the Heart of It: Do I have a heart?

Do I have a heart? What kind of heart do I have?

I copied down from a concordance all of the biblical references to the word 'heart.' I'm going to chew on these for a while. There are a lot of them. Today I am looking at Exodus 23:9.

Do not oppress an alien; you yourselves know how it feels to be aliens, because you were aliens in Egypt.

At first I thought this didn't apply to the term 'heart.' But, really it does. When I feel with my heart I see from where I came and I understand that everyone desires the same things, like safety and security. Everyone wants to be accepted, connected, loved. When I treat everyone the same ... Caucasian, African-American, Chinese, Hispanic are mostly our population that I am aware of ... I have a happy heart. I feel good, not because I have been kind to someone but because I want them to treat me with acceptance and respect, too. I am desirous of a united community that has common ground.

It stings when I am in a store and someone different than me snubs me. It's like they have made themselves at home in my house but they want to take it from me. I want to be hospitable, but how can I with an enemy who would slit my throat and take what I have WORKED for?

Nobody has given my husband and me anything. We have WORKED to earn it. Nothing we have was an ENTITLEMENT. It was not given to us. Sometimes we have paid a high price, not dollars and cents necessarily, to get what we have. In fact, there have been times when we were denied food stamps. All I wanted was food stamps to feed my children. And I was turned away. We have always paid taxes to support those programs, but I was turned away in our hours of need!

Do I have a heart? Yes. What kind of heart do I have? I have a generous heart, but I also matter. Your rights stop where my rights begin. But all well behaved children are taught to share.

(c) 2014 Cathy Brownfield. All Rights Reserved.
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Wednesday, April 9, 2014


                What is responsibility?
                Merriam Webster defines it as “the quality or state of being responsible.” Responsible is “liable to be called upon to answer for one’s acts or decisions; answerable. Able to fulfill one’s obligations: reliable, trustworthy. Able to choose for oneself between right and wrong. Involving accountability or important duties.
                All of the above are important characteristics for the term “responsibility.” We each have “responsibilities.” But how do we perceive those responsibilities?
                Many a mother has said, “Think past the end of your nose, down the road a piece, and consider the consequences of your actions BEFORE you actually do those things. Can you live with those consequences of your actions if you have to? If the answer is “no” it might be best NOT to do them. That is being responsible and it’s also respecting yourself.
                It has been said, “Two wrongs don’t make a right.” But when you make a mistake it is often easier to own it, admit it, make restitution for it and move on with your life. When you do this, you are accountable – responsible – for what you’ve done and proven trustworthiness.
                Sometimes responsibility is heavy and burdensome, so burdensome that it seems like it would be easier and solve everything if you could simply lay down and die. Many people have “ended it all.” But you become stronger, more knowledgeable and resilient with each challenge you conquer, each obstacle you manage to defeat. Challenges are much easier than obstacles.
                Who is responsible for substance abuse?
                Who is responsible for the global economy?
                Who is responsible for the good things in life?
                Who is responsible?

© 2014 Cathy Thomas Brownfield ~ All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, April 1, 2014


The more I complain, the more I find to complain about. So here I am, finally feeling alive again. It might have something to do with the open window because it's FINALLY 70 degrees here after snow as late as three days ago. YAY!!! It might have something to do with connecting with someone who can be objective about me and is telling me I am doing a pretty good job with my self right now.

You see, something happened on the way to Paradise. When I looked at the lives of women who have had influence over me I saw that they martyred themselves for the people they loved. Hm. Well, I wasn't going to let that happen to me. If the man I was with didn't love me, he didn't need to feel obligated to stay with me. But it's something that comes when you are busy, so busy that you don't realize what is coming up behind you. 

My man says he loves me and always has. But times have been hard. I have thought for years that he was overwhelmed by the hardships and somewhere along the way he has come to lean on me too much. That is probably my fault because I let him lean thinking he would find his way and pick up his load and go on with it again. My mother tried to advise me of the error of my ways but I just didn't understand, perhaps because I was too close to the situation to have any objectivity. 

It's late in the relationship, but I don't hold back now. I am brutally honest if need be. D said to me, "God isn't easy on us, is he? When we need to learn something he is forthright and honest about it, even if it hurts." And D is pretty right on about that. And there's that song, "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger." 

I think if it wasn't so windy outside I would take a rake to the front yard. But the leaves are skittering along the sidewalk and the highway so maybe the wind will save me some work, some time. And I can sit here and feel good about my life.

(c) 2014 Cathy Thomas Brownfield ~ All Rights Reserved.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Feisty Women

I love feisty women. When I grow up, that's exactly what I want to be. Mabel is feisty. Now in her 80s, she still drives her car, still speaks her mind and has colored her hair Lucille Ball red. Go, Mabel! Hazel, a southern belle, adopted this Yankee town for her home when she married a Yankee. She speaks up, laughs a lot, and has a wonderful light in her eyes that spells, "Don't Tread On Me." Go, Hazel! Maureen stood her ground against her in-laws for a lot longer than she should have, perhaps, but she took matters into her own hands. She has traveled to every one of the continents. She even traveled on a Russian fishing boat to research Iceland for one of her novels. She died on an emergency room table and was brought back. "The vows said 'til death we do part'," she said. "I died. We are done." Jewel, a history buff in our town, has spoken her mind clearly and succinctly, for as long as I have known her. If someone takes offense, oh, well. That was not her intent. She is just being Jewel and saying what she thinks. Feisty. These are feisty women and I so admire them.

A friend posted to a list we are members of that I "ran off a preacher man." He didn't share the whole story so I thought it presented the "wrong" impression of what actually took place. That people on the list who do not know me might have the totally wrong idea about the person I am. And then there was the preacher man who said to me, "You need to be a strong wife, the wife your husband needs. Stop complaining." I had asked for some guidance on getting along with my in-laws. It can't work unless both sides are striving for a good relationship. One half of the equation just isn't going to make anything work. And I'd made up my mind I was not going to be told what I could and couldn't do, what I would and wouldn't do. My mama taught me to do my own thinking.

Then there was the preacher man that my friend referred to. When others in the congregation come to you and say, "He was talking about you!" from the pulpit, using me for an example...I thought it was my imagination. But, it felt like "bullying." When he said, "Just because your mama tells you something doesn't mean it's the truth," or, "Don't bring your problems to me. I don't have answers for you," there is a problem, Houston. Because, as I understand it, and I could be very mistaken here, the disciples had so much work to do in speaking and converting people to Christianity they created the offices of elders and deacons to tend to the needs of the people. Someone is supposed to be "ministering" to those who need.

When I spoke to him, one-on-one, as the Bible prescribes (I did this not once but at least twice) he said he had no issue with me. Um...I guess it didn't occur to him that I, a woman, had an issue or two with him and wanted to eliminate the problem. So I took the next step, which the Bible ALSO prescribes: If you can't resolve the issue one-on-one, find someone you both trust to mediate. OK. I went to a man who graduated from seminary, used to be a minister at that church, was then an elder at another church of the same persuasion in another community, and we both respected this man. He refused to become involved. "Haven't you figured out yet that he isn't doing his job?"

Oh. My. The third step of this prescription from the New Testament is to take it to the church. I could see where that would take me...chastised and punished publicly from the pulpit. So I decided it would be better if I walked away from that little church. But there were people there who did not want me to leave. I couldn't stay and be accused of causing trouble or destroying that little church. That's not the way God works, is it? But I did say to one of the elders' wives, "When God asks why they let [this "minister"] do to his church what this man has done, what will the elders answer?" I also told her I would NOT be the one who damaged the church.

I was not attending that little church when the minister left. He did his own damage. And he was removed from that position because of his own actions. I did NOT run him off. I simply stood my ground and defended the women who were insulted when he said they all are liars. Did HIS mother lie to him? Why would he say that MY mother would LIE to me? I've been seeking Truth for all of my lifetime. Surely he wasn't telling my children and grandchildren that I would LIE to them???

Maybe I am on my way to feisty. Cool. I like that idea a lot.

Friday, September 6, 2013

A Dream

                 The sky was gray. It was early morning before sunrise. For some reason I was standing in front of my home…in the middle of the street, a major traffic artery that stretches across the entire United States. I was looking toward the center of town, the business district. The trees were still full of green leaves. It might have been spring or late summer. I looked to my right and saw my house. My family was inside, probably sleeping. I was the early riser at our place. I enjoyed the peace and quiet, the tranquility of early morning spent listening to the birds when they began their singing and before traffic began to move. It was time spent in God’s Country. But this morning I was in front of my house.
                Suddenly a huge flock of white doves took flight from the branches of the tree filled with green leaves. I thought how beautiful they were. And then I heard a voice. There was no one around but there was a voice speaking to me.
                “Cathy, it is the end of the world.”
                In the middle of the street in front of my house, the street that was a highway that is a major traffic artery that stretches across the entire United States, I watched the white doves lift up and away and heard the voice tell me, “It is the end of the world.”
                I dropped to my knees in the very spot where I stood, folded my hands and prayed fervently to my God to protect his people.
                It was a dream. It was simply a dream…wasn’t it?

©2013 Cathy Thomas Brownfield – All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Responsibility weighs heavy

Responsibility weighs heavy. When you take the class and apply for a CCW permit, said the instructor, you are saying you are willing to take another human life if it is necessary. For some reason, hearing that put a whole different spin on what my spouse and a former police chief told me when I said I couldn’t kill another human being.

My husband: “If I’m not here and someone threatens you, are you going to stand there and let them kill you? Are you going to let them take your children’s lives?”

Well, of course I would give my own life to save my children.

Former Police Chief: “When you shoot someone coming through your door, make sure the body is inside when law enforcement gets there.”

That was long ago. Now I have grandchildren to protect.

Castle Law is enforced here. If you break down my door in the middle of the night you will find yourself on the business end of a shotgun. If I am traveling long distances alone and you threaten bodily harm that puts me in fear for my life, you will be at the business end of my pistol. You are best off not threatening me. You are best off not invading my home because CCW (conceal to carry) teaches you don’t shoot to wound and stop. You aim to kill because a wounded attacker gets more aggressive. There’s no room for hesitation.

And yet there is all that human stuff. Reflexes, emotions, compassion, all the things inside that urge us to give the person the advantage of reasonable doubt.

I thought I was “just” taking a class.

I thought it was “just” about carrying a gun to insure my own safety when I travel alone or I am home alone when my spouse is away. And it was all of that. And more.

Responsibility weighs heavy when you choose to combat perceived dangers. It’s so much simpler when people respect each other and don’t touch each other’s belongings without permission. You can’t shoot someone or kill them because they are taking your things. You take such actions when you believe your very life is endangered.

Respect. It’s called respect. Why does it seem to be so hard to do?

In my heart and soul I pray I will NEVER have to take another human life.
©2013 Cathy Thomas Brownfield ~ All Rights Reserved