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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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.

And she loved the birds that sang from those branches. Her Nana gave her a birdfeeder one birthday. I hung it under the porch roof, right outside the kitchen’s window. Season after season, Heidi watched the birds in the dogwood tree as they waited their turn at the feeder.

One Sunday morning in January, as she sat confined to the wheelchair necessitated by a stroke, she said, “Mom – look! Look at the pretty bird!”

I glanced at the pile of equipment that overflowed the foyer, waiting to be loaded for the morning service. But a still, small voice said, “Sit. Have breakfast with your daughter.”

So I put the chore off and sat with her a few moments.

Church was glorious that morning. I could sense God’s presence permeating the worship in a sweet way that often eludes the one serving as the worship leader due to the nature of the work. But that morning, His nearness almost overwhelmed me, yet somehow I managed to keep leading and not turn into a voiceless puddle. The afterglow stayed with me the whole day.

After lunch, I asked Heidi if she wanted to take a nap or help me takedown the Christmas tree. Twelfth Night had passed, and now for our family Christmas was over. Normally Heidi would jump at the chance to help with the tree. Long-term radiation damage had become increasingly compromised her ability to do much with the ornaments. Still, she found a way to cradle one between her paralyzed left hand and her body, and use the functioning right hand to deal with the hook. Her chatter made for good company, and we both looked forward to these times together.

So I asked her, fully expecting her to opt for the tree. But she looked at me a long moment. Time seemed to suspend. Then she said, “Mom? I’m tired, now. I would like to go to sleep.”

Those were the last words I ever heard her speak…





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    Response: useful reference
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Reader Comments (1)

What a wonderful picture your words invoke of the two trees and the watching. Yes Heidi was tired, she had lived a life full of moments like these and always close to God her father - a full life indeed.

October 25, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterFrances Michaels

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