About Me

  Patricia Hammell Kashtock

Aka: Pat Kashtock. Mother of three, wife of one. BA in Social Work and Biblical Studies. Graduate work at Virginia Tech interrupted, then derailed by oldest child’s brain tumor...

My life has not followed the course I planned. But I am not complaining. Pain is to be expected in a world broken apart from its Creator.

The miracle resides in the ability to find joy when least expected...


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For What It's Worth

Each life is a journey. The voices of many guides try to direct us, saying, “This is the path – walk in it!” Yet each one leads in a different direction.

I believe only one Voice can be true. That Voice will lead us in ways most unexpected, into worlds yet undiscovered. It will lead us up the hill, around the river and through the forest. And sometimes, it will lead without mercy.

Or so it seems.

I have made listening for that Voice and following it, my life’s quest. I will share some of what I have heard that Voice say with you. But I am not in the business of telling people how to think or what to believe. Each has to decide for himself. Only you can decide if you find the truth of the Voice in these words. And only you can decide how much it is worth to know the Voice, and follow.

But for me, it is worth the whole world.

And then some…

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Take It for What It's Worth

Each life is a journey. The voices of many guides try to direct us, saying,“This is the path – walk in it!” Yet each one leads in a different direction.

I believe only one Voice can be true. That Voice will lead us in ways most unexpected, into worlds yet undiscovered. It will lead us up the hill, around the river and through the forest.

And sometimes, it will lead without mercy.

Or so it seems.

I have made listening for that Voice and following it, my life’s quest. I will share some of what I have heard that Voice say with you. But I am not in the business of telling people how to think or what to believe. Each has to decide for himself. Only you can decide if you find the truth of the Voice in these words. And only you can decide how much it is worth to know the Voice, and follow.

But as for me, it is worth the whole world. And then some… (more)

ume-13%20flower%20bar.bmp Recent Articles ume-13%20flower%20bar.bmp

Christmas 2018


               As November began, I sat outside on the patio and scanned the woods behind house, baffled. Each year as we trick or treated with the kids, we had trudged through ankle-deep crunchy leaves. The trees would be nearly bare. But not this year. The leaves hadn’t even changed color and for the most part were still vibrant green. Well, except one rebel tree that stands behind our neighbor’s house. From behind brilliant reds and oranges she seemed to almost shout, “Get ready! It’s coming whether you want it or not!”....

Yet Another False So-called Church

I normally try to avoid posting something this ugly. But there are times what is done in darkness needs to come to light in order to protect people. This appears to be another renegade, so-called "church" with high-control, abusive leadership gone to the extreme of destroying families for various reasons. They destroy the families by......read the rest here



Christmas 2015 Light Wars 


Life can be cruel. Beloved family members die. Jobs disappear. Darkness overwhelms us. We suffer.


And the Snow Sang....

Heidi was in bed this morning, confused as to which day it is. She very much wanted someone to play with, but no one comes around anymore.

Read the rest here 


Rescue from the Kilns

273 people. 273 slaves. 273 men, women, and children who had been robbed of their lives were forced to....read the rest here


200+ Police Officers and Government Officials in Henan Province of China Raid a House Church

 Suddenly, more than 200 police and government officials surrounded the meeting place and took all the students away, including a mother and her one-year-old infant! Read the rest here

IJM Advocacy Summit 2013, Washington, DC

Two days of training and lobbying Congress in order to bring an end to modern-day slavery and freedom to the estimated 27 million slaves in the world today.

See the Advocacy Summit video here

Original photo by Eric Peacock, modifiedThe Endless Supply of Forced Brick Kiln Labor

A three-year-old brick-making slave. That defies a sense of reality, let alone a sense of decency.  Read here

Mother’s Day Revisited

“Forget-Me-not,” Your flowers whisper

        as if I could forget

Your love and joyful laugh

        and steady hands....    Read the non-lyrics version here

Line Drawing for a Gravestone

On that day, at breakfast she said, "Look, Mom! Look at the pretty red bird!" So, I stopped my Sunday morning.....read the rest here  



February 26th, 2012 is Freedom Sunday

an international day of unity among faith communities,  taking action to end slavery.

Polaris Project Matching Funds                 


 One day Antonio couldn’t take it any longer.  Read how you can help here


Diary from a Cancer Ward: Just a Mother

Heidi has not once stirred, nor asked why I am here. Her swollen face sinks heavily into the pillow.... Read the rest here


Your Voice Is Needed to Ensure U.S. Fights Slavery

"Dear Abolitionists:

You may already know that slavery is connected to you. It’s in the products you buy, the clothes you wear and the car you drive. There are thousands of slaves in America, some hidden from view, others standing on street corners you pass every day.

Ever wonder: What can I do to stop it?"   Find out how here

Tomato Slavery

I am disheartened. I knew about slavery on the Ivory Coast in the cocoa groves, slavery in rice mills, on coffee plantations, domestic slavery. But on tomato farms?


Read the rest here


Writer’s Chop Block and Tackle

- The writing is not the crossbeam. The way you handle other’s expectations is. That is your instrument of death. And it is the wrong instrument and the wrong death. - Read more here





That Incorrigible ADHD Person. Yah. You Over There   

I am incorrigible. Totally.

I start with the best intentions. And promptly side track.

 Read here


 Not Noah

My elderly neighbor called early Thursday morning screaming and screaming. Her basement was flooding. Looked like the water heater, but .... See here    


The Last Survivor Is Gone

Chica died today.

Seven years to the day after Heidi died; I found her tiny parrot dead on the floor of the cage, back in the one place she never seemed to go... Read here




Freedom Awards: Free the Slaves

Watch the Freedom Awards on Halogen TV. Click on the link above.



Rewrite of Jagged Edges Prologue

Suddenly she stops and leaps sideways to tag another scampering child.


Then, like soap bubbles bursting on the sidewalk, the children splinter off into nothingness... Read here



Armor-plated Time Warping Locusts 

Lord, my life is a nightmare of things left undone. Armor plated locusts feast on the edges of my time. The click of their steel jaws... Read here



Save the Date: - DC Stop Modern Slavery Walk Saturday, October 22, 2010

What: 2010 Stop Modern Slavery Walk
Where: National Mall - Constitution Gardens (Constitution Avenue NW and 19th St NW, Washington, DC)
When: Saturday, October 23, 2010 (9:00 am- 2:00 pm)

Click here for details


Taliban killed 10 aid workers including 6 Christians

Pressured in their traditional areas in the south and east by NATO’s growing concentration of forces there, the insurgents have become more active in areas once relatively quiet, like Badakhshan Province. They have recently dropped taboos on using women and children as suicide bombers and on assassinating tribal elders. Now it appears they have also breached the longstanding custom of providing safe passage to aid workers, who have often been free to work in both government and insurgent-dominated areas...

Read about disturbing Taliban changes here


Out of the Ashes - June 05, 2010

Families move on. Much like time, even great loss cannot force them to stand still. Often the wake from the loss surges forward and carries them to paces they do not want to go. Perhaps less frequently, it merely becomes a challenge one needs to tame.

But at no time, does it ever just go away.  Read here


Washington Nats Host Anti-Slavery Night 

Attend a baseball game and help fight slavery. More here


Faces of Slavery

See rest here and see video larger


Faces of Slavery from David Hepburn on Vimeo.


"Gao Zhisheng Confirmed 'Alive!'"

On Sunday, March 28, 2010, missing human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng spoke to his wife and children for the first time in over a year - confirming he is still alive! False rumors of his death, torture, and escape from the custody of the Chinese Government have shrouded Gao's absence with mystery for over a year....read the rest here


Letter from a Capital Hill Worker on the Health Care Bill

 A friend sent this letter. It was written by a staffer on on Capitol Hill who is well know in her circles. She issued a plea. Read here


Yes, You Can Find God in the Yellow Pages

Lord -- I want to scream! There is too much stuff I am responsible for. I can't even begin to keep up. 

-- Keep writing. --- 

How will that help? It adds yet another thing on top of the Aegean stable mess. 

Read the rest here

God Is My Warden…forget the co-pilot part

But You can't be a nag in the dictionary sense...

--- Don't be so sure about that. ---   read the rest

And I Will Use Natural Consequences if I Have To!

  --- Temptations will come. It is more spiritual than you think, this battle. ---

How do I deal with that? Seriously Lord. I "know" the "right" answers, but don't get anywhere with them.... read the rest

Horse Dreams          

A song written and sung by a family friend, Jean Watson. Jean volunteers at True Vine, a stable dedicated to matching up rescued horses with special needs children. Jean says the bond that an incredible bond  forms between horse and child. Watch the video here

Virginia and Alabama Voting on Anti-trafficking Bills Today. Please call your delegate

Both states have bills up today that will help curtail the buying and selling of human being. For details, go here

Great Song for the Start of Lent

Please kill the liar
Kill the thief in me
You know that I am tired of their cruelty
Breathe into my spirit
Breathe into my veins
Until only love remains

To hear the song, go here


Child Rescued on the Eve of Rape Initiation    Not the child in this story, but a different victim of trafficking in Mumbai.

On the night she was supposed to be raped for the first time, young sex trafficking victim Lona*was plucked from the brink of initiation into a life of forced prostitution by... Read more by clicking on the picture

Ronald McRipper Attacks Fundraising T een

I’m irked. Or as one friend corrected me, McIrked.

 Three years ago, 16-year-old Lauren McClusky and a friend who also sported a Mc-surname came up with a plan to raise money for the Chicago area Special Olympics. They pulled together a group of high school and college bands to perform in a festival they dubbed McFest, as a spinoff of their own names. Read more



Chinese Official Says Gao Zhisheng "Went Missing"

Christian human rights attorney Gao Zhisheng, disappeared February 4, and was last seen being taken away by a dozen police officers. Your voice is vital to this international outcry. Read more from China-aid here

Christmas 2009 – Bound Together by Floods of Snow

Mary and Joseph also faced that first Christmas alone. Only, they did not know it was Christmas. Still, they had to journey far from their families and the support for the birthing those families offered. Had to be tough to be away from your Mom and your village when 

Please Pray for Mike's Surgery Dec 17, 7:30 AM

Many things happen when one cares for a grown child who becomes increasingly incapacitated. You feel trapped in a never waking nightmare with each new downturn. You grieve each new loss, your child's pain, the loss of the future that should have been. The one you planned without realizing it when you looked into that child's perfect newborn face.       Read the rest here 

Day two: The Bible Permits Sex Slaves!!! 

Seborgarsen raises this issue:    

‘The following passage describes the sickening practice of sex slavery. How can anyone think it is moral to sell your own daughter as a sex slave?”

He quotes this scripture to back up his premise... read here     

“The Bible is so full of endorsement of slavery it makes me sick”

I received a most interesting "comment" about the bible and slavery. The commenter asks a number of intriguing questions, well, after panning me for being a "cherry-picking hypocrite" :0 Read here.

Beautiful Slave: a true story in song

 Click on the title to watch a video by Take No Glory. They wrote the song, Beautiful Slave, after reading the story of a little girl. A real little girl. Watch here.


For Runaways, Sex Buys Survival: NY Times

"Nearly a third of the children who flee or are kicked out of their homes each year engage in sex for food, drugs or a place to stay, according to a variety of studies published in academic and public health journals. But this kind of dangerous barter system can quickly escalate..." Read more here


The Weekend to End Slavery - Nov 14-15, 2009/ Extended

 From the International Justice Missions A practicle way to help fight slavery, today. Please consider it. The cost is minimal -- $15USA for 2 movies and house-party kits. See here for more info   This has been extended for as long as you need. Not limited to the stated weekend.

The Two Trees: Dogwood and Christmas

The limbs of the dogwood tree meander gracefully outside our kitchen window. In the spring, flowers festoon its branches in clusters like puffs of pink snow. Heidi loved that tree.

Read the story here




Group 1Crew on Forgiveness


Just for fun. I fell in love with this group when their first CD came out. This is one of my all time favorite

songs. Similar theme to The Motions. Another favorite from Group 1 Crew is "Can't Go On" 


The Happy Cardinal 

 I put off dealing with stonecutters. I just could not find what I wanted.

I knew what I wanted........  Read more here


 Time Management with God

Oh no -- it is 11 o'clock. The hour is up.

 -- Yes. And your coach is about to turn into a pumpkin...

 To read the rest, go here


Dogwood in sand

Buying Not Bread 

-- You're distracting --  

oh. I guess I don't really want to write.

 To read, go here

Dusty Pictures: Heidi Elizabeth Kashtock

Oh, where did the time go

the child go

when did she leave?

To read the rest go here



Child Slavery in Africa from Generation to Generation.

The LA Times recently posted an artical byRobyn Dixon about the viscious cycle of slavery in Africa today. One would think that a mother's experience of being a child slave would stop her from selling her own child into slavery, but it does not necessarily.


From a recent newsletter:

 American attorney David E. Taylor, a ChinaAid volunteer, delivered the petition for Gao's release to the Chinese Embassy. However, when the embassy staff saw the petition was from ChinaAid for Gao Zhisheng, she said, "I'm sorry, Sir, I'm sorry! Take it away!"  Read the rest here

Plastic Guards and the King of Heart

 I heard

                    --- Let Me in

and suddenly I feel/see these little plastic guards around my heart. Yet flimsy and small though they are, You do not breach them.

--- Of course not little one.....                   Read the rest here

Gone Fishing

....And of course, Heidi.

But there really is no of course about that. At least not here in the US. And maybe never...

Read the rest here

Hope from a Near Death Experience

Dale could not have known this, but the day he sent his testimony, I probably felt as discouraged as I have ever been. The feelings of uselessness nearly overwhelmed me that night.... Read the rest here.


Near Death Experience


I know I was in bed sleeping. Suddenly, no dreams. I felt myself take my last breath, let it out. Then, my soul (?) started to rise up. I was in a complete surrounding of pure black... Read the rest of Dale Cordell's experience here


Diary of a Cancer Ward 5/29/85: The Existential Roller-coaster

I can’t understand this roller coaster of hope and despair we live on, clamped tight inside the flimsy cars against our wills. One moment we are climbing. The way up is slow and labored, but the cars creak their way towards the top where the sunlight shimmers and dances. The next moment we catapult straight down into the darkness leaving our souls back at the top where the sunshine lives. Read the rest

Ducks Don't Stay In Rows

     I thought You said something, but just in writing the above, I lost it. 

Trying to get my ducks in a row again. Read more

Return of The Cosmic Commander

Of the thousands of people I have met over the course of a life time, Heidi may have been the most intent, stubborn, and determined one of all. Just didn’t trust us, those awful forgetful parents of hers! Mind you, she would NEVER forget something so all-important as setting a clock for the morning.

But we did....


Finding Faith in a Cancer Ward

Elizabeth Moll Stalcup tells the story of a pediatric oncologist whose young patients saw angels as they died. Only, the oncologist was an atheist.

Read more


When the Journey Began

But Lord, I don't feel very lovable.

– I know... –

I'm not sure that is You........ Read more



What Does It Cost to Free Slaves without Buying Them Back?

Buying slaves back. It sounds tempting. But those who work to free slaves say this is not a good idea. It only perpetuates the problem. There are other ways to deal with it. See this chart from Freetheslaves.net to find concrete ways you can help free real children from very real bondage. Read more




From Free the Slaves. Real slaves. Today. 27 Million.

And some are in the US.... Read more


Shuang Shuying Released from Chinese Prison to See Dying Husband

Update on Shuang Shuying

Praise God! On Feb. 8 Shuang Shuying was released from prison and immediately went to see her deathly ill husband in the hospital. Shuying wrote a letter thanking you for praying and supporting her. The letter also revealed that she was tortured in prison....

Read more


How Do You Tell Your Child She Is Going to Die?

Her head lifts up as she hears the door open. There’s my Mommy! She’s so pretty. She looks so pretty... she looks... pretty sad. I can make her laugh. And her bright eyes dance in the overhead light, headache forgotten.

In slow motion, I approach the gurney and gently take her hand. Kneeling in front of her on the cold hospital floor, I start to speak.

Read more



Christmas 2004 – And then there were four

While out shopping for gifts some little thing will catch my eye and I’ll move towards it thinking, “Oh, Heidi would love that!”

Then I remember... and pray for the grace not to cry.

Read more

Listen to My Chains Are Gone


This is my favorite version of Chris Tomlin's reworking of Amazing Grace. Here he uses a Gospel choir to sing back up.





Chinese police are angered by your response

The recent news letter from China Aid gives hope. We can affect even totalitarian governments when they persecute people. There are things we can do. Once this process begins we are given a small window of time in which to press in. Please click on the above title.

Ending Slavery: the Obama/Lincoln connection

IJM has posted something you can do to help. Please help.


Change is in the air in Washington.

But there are some things that haven’t changed. Beyond our borders, the poorest of the poor are victimized by violent crime – sexual violence, slavery, trafficking, police brutality, and property theft from widows and orphans.


Dancing Feet (from the UpperRoom)

Although she could no longer dance, she always smiled and said, "I know that when I get to heaven, I will be able to dance."

Christmas 2003 –You never know when the last one will be

But the Lord made me a promise that it all would be, “like a dream, like a vision that passes in the night,” and “they will be like the morning mist, like the early dew that disappears.” And indeed, it has been like a dream in which one has no control, and in which things go from bad to worse with no one to intervene.

Then suddenly, you wake up.

And sitting up, you realize how horrible it was.......



Christmas 2000 - Finding Warmth in a Frozen World

 I wondered whether or not to write this year.




For Christmas - a new gift

There are many gifts to buy or make during this month before Christmas. People we love will be touched that we thought of them. Of course, we hope they will actually enjoy the gift we took the time to find or make for them.

Here is a gift the person receiving it will be thrilled to get: the gift of Freedom. Please click on above title.


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