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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Blogs of Note

Windows to the Woman’s Soul (W2WSoul)
Hope's Home
A Redeemed Life
The Writing Life
Kendall Harmon Titus 1:9
A Mom's Life
Robin's Nesting Place

Amen Me!

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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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Writer’s Chop Block and Tackle

Writing. Sigh.

One writer advised a group of elementary students, Make sure you love to write if you want to be a writer.”

I do not want to “be” a writer with all that filler that finds its way into the job description. And I do not  love to write, either. Yet I feel compelled to. Well, I write in my journal without stress, but?


- Pat. You love to write. You just don’t realize, haven’t realized it. It is what you were created to do. Yes, one of the things, but a big thing. Your enemy is discouragement, not the writing. You fear not being good enough, yet you feel other’s expectations of greatness weighing you down. Like a crossbeam.

 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.


My burdens are light. When I told you to take up your cross and follow Me, yes, I was telling you to carry the instrument for your “death.” That speaks to a death to one’s own preferences when they conflict with the need to bring good into the world. By taking up the cross and marching to Golgotha, I put aside My desire for sleep, wholeness, food, water, companionship, even the presence of God, the Father. The desire to avoid pain.


Put Me in your site. Zero in. Yes, it is hard, but I have gone that way before.


And yes, think of it as obedience. For now. But do remember, I “endured the cross for the joy set before” Me.


So lay down other’s expectations of “greatness.” That is what holds you hostage. The terror of failure if you try to fulfill those has crippled you. Throw that crossbeam off. Throw it! It does not matter if you do not succeed in the way they hoped. You cannot disappoint your father now, you know. He’ll hardly think less of you for not creating a blockbuster bestseller.


Ha! Got you to smile. You know that is ridiculous. You are afraid of not even getting published.


Will you let me take care of that?


I am the God of the impossible. Just ask Me. When you’ve gotten it finished.


Yes, I will help you.


Go in peace today and try not to worry so much about hell and your place in things. I will guide you. The isolation is just for a time. I will show you how, when, and the way to reach out.


Writing is a part of that. Deep down you know that. You are just afraid of the discipline it takes. –


And then I see Matthew 11:27. “My Father has entrusted everything to Me.”



*Chop Block

"Simply put, a chop block occurs when an offensive player drops down and hits the opposing player below the knees. Because this is a dangerous play which can cause career ending injuries, chop blocks are illegal."

Source: FF Toolbox


That Incorrigible ADHD Person. Yah. You Over There

I am incorrigible. Totally.night time at The Founder's Inn and Spa, for the SongDiscovery worship leading conference

I start with the best intentions. And promptly side track. My verse for the day:

Let me live so I can please You

            And may Your regulations help me

I have wandered away like a lost sheep.

            Come and find me

For I have not forgotten Your commands. (Psalm 119:175-176)


I don’t relate to relating to laws and commands, but I love the lost sheep/come and find me plea. That is how I feel.


When I finally dragged myself into my prayer chair, I asked for something to help. “Heard” –Psalm 121- but thought, nah. I’m making that up. That’s just a general praise passage and not helpful for my current discouraged mood.


So I heard:

–  Okay, then. Psalm 47


Well, that was a general praise psalm yet it lifted my mood anyway.

Figured I should look up the other. Psalm 121 turned out to be the, “I lift my eyes to the mountain” psalm which always helps me come into Your presence. Rather than 121, I think You intended me to see the verses from Psalm 119 strung across the top like a banner.

My enemies are not people. They are me.

My flaws and character traits are too strong for me. Please free me? 

I’ve let them imprison me.


And I don’t follow Your directions even though I have asked for You to lead me. I want to, but a huge part of me resists. That part wants to do what it wants to do at that moment with no thought surrendered to the day’s larger picture. Forget the week/month/year/lifetime picture.


You have gifted me with perspective. Normally I can see the larger picture at a glance. Yet in this area of within time, perspective flees. Please help me face each day afresh with time-frame perspective firmly in place.


Ha, ha. The chimes go off, letting me know I am already behind schedule. Yet I have learned a lot.


That’s the flip side. You have used the ADHD to get me doing what You want when it did not fit into the schedule I thought You wanted. The switch for me will be getting onto a schedule. I fight it. Well, I fight going to bed.


I don’t like going to bed. A million things to do beckon seductively, so I resist getting ready for bed until I am exhausted. “Just this one more thing,” I say.


     – Are you sure you want to do that? – You ask


Oh, yeah. It won’t take long.


     – Are you sure? –


Yeah. It’ll be fine.”


Hours later I finally fall into bed. Now I am exhausted. I hurt all over. Behind for the day. Distractible. So maybe I will go to bed and sleep eight hours. And wake up feeling great.


And promptly stay up way too late again.


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 sounds day and night. And I am left with too few things started, and little finished.

            --- So? Write. --

Are You serious?

            -- Yes --

You know, that makes no sense.

            -- Yes it does. In My "economy" as you think of it, it makes perfect sense. --

And I think I am talking to myself. Making this up, just to make myself feel better. Lord -- it hasn't washed at all in the past.

            -- So you think.

            You're thinking isn't always accurate. I hate to break it to you... --

Ha, ha.

Okay, then. What should I write?

            -- Your book. --

Sigh. Which one?

            -- The Heidi book. Of course. --

Oh, Lord! Misery. I don't know what to do with it.

-- You try too hard to be perfect. Just finish it. That would be a good start. --

Oh, You are very punny... And that sounds just akin to torture. Finishing something like that = only a start!

Big sigh, big... sigh.

-- You worry too much about the end of the thing when I have you placed at the starting line. This one is not a sprint. You can't see the finish line from the blocks. In this race. You don't even know where the finish line is, yet you fuss over it trying to envision it, and trying to figure out how you will get yourself there.

            Yes -- I did say to count the cost before embarking on a journey, a project.

            But I also said don't worry about tomorrow for today has enough trouble to occupy you. --

Oh. A reminder. A day isn't easy, no matter where in the world we are. Even in cushy America.

     -- Correct. To whom much is given, more is expected. --

We don't have to fight for survival -- food/clothing/and shelter-wise. But we have time gorging locusts to contend with.

            -- Yes. And sometimes they are very tiny ones that slip your notice continually. Other times you let them in "just this once," because you see some promise of fulfillment strapped to their backs like a treat. You fall for their deception.

Other times they are devouring monsters. Either way, you need my protection. --

That last comes from "being in" Your "will."

            -- Yes. Partly. The part you are missing. --

Which is not writing.

             -- Uh huh... –

 Can I sigh now?

            -- Sure. But it won't help. --

And I can just about see You grinning, which makes me smile.




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. 

-- You'll see. Everything in its boundary. --- 

I'm so sorry I wasted the time on that other computer. 

--- Not wasted. –


Well out of its boundary.

-- Perhaps. ---

 Okay, the information I gleaned will be useful both for some family friends and to send to Africa.

Still. God I need help. 

--- I'm here. Always.

 At your fingertips. –

Huh? That sounds like the Yellow Pages, a resource, or a servant...

-- Yes? --- 

Okay. Jeremiah 33:3, “God’s phone number.”

"When you call to me I will answer." 

I guess, I think of yellow pages because I'd look in them for specific businesses, to find their phone numbers so I can contact them to get the help I needed.

 Photo by Andy Hargraves on Stock Xchng

Oh. Each business offer specific help. You are here for specific help. I guess sometimes I think that You mostly help us in a general way like, “hold us up” or “be with us” or some such. And while You help us overall, perhaps most commonly You give help in specific, concrete ways. Maybe Your help is always in the specific, only We forget to pray that way. Or maybe lack the faith…


Back to the rest of the fingertips concept. Resources. Those equal tools, money, knowledge, wisdom -- anything that enables one to do what couldn't be done otherwise.

-- Yes? –

"In my weakness, He is made strong."

Okay. I can buy that. Still, it seems far too small for You. I think of You as providing resources, not being one. Only I find the idea does give me hope. I like that. Makes me think I can just lean back onto You when the going gets too rough. Even though I “knew” that in an intellectual sense, this wedges the idea in deep enough so I begin to believe it on a level where I can put it into practice. Oh. That trust thing again. Always, always, trust. Will I ever get there?

 So, I will accept You as my main resource.

 But that servant part -- that gets me squeamish like I'm thinking way wrong.

 -- But? –

 You came to seek and serve. I had to look that up. It seems You were forever serving Your disciple, and they got squeamish about the idea, too. When You spoke about coming to serve and not to be served, You used the word in the same sentence as “slave.”

That’s sort of scary.

But there is an odd reassurance to it, too. Lord? It is too much for my brain to hold. Lord, King, and slave? Yet – You call us to be “slaves” to one another. Paul called himself a slave of Christ. Well, a bond-slave, someone who has chosen to remain and serve his master.

 Lord – it seems to be Your way to do things in a circular manner. It makes sense on that level too deep for words, but I can’t logic it out and explain why. You know that frustrates me…and You laugh!

 -- Can’t leave it alone, can you? –

 I suppose not.

 -- My Little Figure-figure-figure it out one… --

 And the Holy Spirit is our advocate. Hmm -- in the NIV it reads Counselor. Which is it? Advocate or counselor?

 --- Doesn't matter. ---

 Okay, the New Living Translation expands it to: Counselor, comforter, encourager, or advocate. In the Greek. It says Paraclete.

 Para = alongside of. What does "-clete" mean?

The dictionary states "-clete" has to do with helping. It identifies Paraclete as literally a person called in to help.

The prefix, para means:

1) "at, or to one side of; side-by-side; beside.

2) Beyond, passed, or by.

 So, an advocate is:

  1. An intercessor or defender
  2. Someone who pleads the cause of another (Chamber Dictionary © 2008)

A counselor is

1)     Someone who gives advice about problems

2)     Someone who has supervisory duties at a summer camp

3)     (law) a lawyer who pleads cases in court

Back at least partially to being an advocate. I would think it all had to do with defending us, but the word also has to do with encourager and comforter.


Thank You, Lord, that You are all those things to us. You plead our case. You defend us. You stand along beside us and guide our paths. You give us advice. Even when we don’t take it, which is far too often, You stay with us, and continue to advise us. And when we fall apart because we were too stupid to listen to You and fell down the embankment, You reach down and pull us out of the mud-hole. Then You clean us off. Feed us. And help us on our way once again.



God Is My Warden…forget the co-pilot part

I can't believe that after years of being so regular with the morning oh at least an hour quiet time, I let it fall apart.

--- It needed to for a while. It had become a joyless habit and that is not what I want from you. It means nothing to me that way. Besides -- your mind kept going elsewhere too frequently. That's what happens when something becomes a legalism -- the heart goes out of it. I want your heart, yes, even with the Western understanding of that.

And yes, you did need to see that others can and do function without taking all that time. I never left you, did I? ---

To my amazement, You didn't.

--- I won't. Not ever. You cannot make me go away. I'm here to stay.

     Like a little nag at your side. ---

Uh, Lord?

--- [Grin]. You need one, you know. You aren't very good at it. ---

Like a parent?

... Or warden?

--- Both. Of course. --- [More grin]


I'm chuckling. And I'm relieved.

Someone staying on me sounds like hope.

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

(someone who

  1. annoys by continual scolding, faultfinding, complaining, urging, etc.
  2. continually troubles, fusses at, etc.

--- Don't be so sure about that. ---

Well, I don't see you as fault finding and complaining.

--- Actually, I am very good at finding the faults and putting my finger on them. ---

Oh -- like Teutonic plates. Putting pressure on them to keep to keep things from getting out of sync.

--- Something like that.

The difference is that I can bring real change, and it is change you desire. This truly is for your sake, unlike human "nagging" which is often for the nagger's sake and fueled by bitterness. ---


I looked up warden. Interesting. I tend to think prison guard, but that is only one meaning. A warden is a keeper -- a person charged with custody of people animals or things. Public servants superintending parks, wildlife, Burroughs, colleges. A gatekeeper.

I need all of those, minus the jailer. I didn't use those words this morning, but essentially I ask you to gate-keep my time today.

E-mails make me crazy. One thing leads to another.

--- You don't have to read them all. Things will go forward without you. I will tell you when to take action. Yes -- "mind the checks." Please.

And speaking of minding checks... ---

Suddenly, I see the keyboard in front of me. Time to practice. But I haven't read yet.

--- So read. ---

So I opened to Matthew 10:42. "And even if you give a cup of cold water to the least of these..."

(I promptly went off on a thinking tangent about Louisiana, and my time there. But that story is for another day. Suffice it to say, I should have minded the check)


And I Will Use Natural Consequences if I Have To!

I want to give up staying up late for Lent.

--- So do it. ---

And for both Mike's and my stake. I need to get supper on the table at 6 to 630. But I get so distracted.

 --- 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.

--- Give Me the first four hours of your day. ---

Like I didn't today...

---  True. But all is not lost. Not yet. It can be though, if you turn on that computer to do anything but write. No e-mail, and no research either during that time until you are well established in the proper habit. And no -- not until blood through the summer. Even vacation. Use a timer...  –

I am relieved to think that the first four hours includes my time with You, which is an hour plus an hour of practice.

             But that feels like cheating.

--- For now, let's do it that way. –

It takes a huge load off me.

--- You need some hope, and you need something doable. Yes -- use a timer. For now. Not always. Yes -- get a second one. That would help. Bigger is better so you don't lose it. I know how frustrating losing things is for you. ---

And frustrating when I start chasing down rabbit trails rather than stick to what needs to be done. For so many years, I watched often desperate circumstances swallow up my goals. There was little I could do to fix that.

But now, it is almost as if not achieving those goals has taken their place as a new goal in some insidious way. I wonder if I sabotage myself. The day may start off weel. My resolve runs high. For about 45 minutes after waking. Then my hand reaches to do whatever work stands in front of me, rather than towards the work goals for that day.

I have never had a regular schedule oh since I was very little, like before mom got sick.

--- No, you haven't. But you are ready to change. I let you get good and sick of doing it the other way. Consequences of your actions are no fun, but they are great teacher/motivators. It's tough. I know that, Little One.

If you go forward in pieces, you will be able to do it. You will find it is a good fit for you and will like the schedule itself as well as the results. This way will not seem so restrictive. We will move towards the other but not yet. ---


Entombed Dreams

I am from childhoods spent lying in sunlit fields watching cloud, and picking the wild strawberries that grow there.

I am from the stream in the woods where sunlight kissed our heads in filtered patches while lizards tried to escape our grasp.

I am from the courtyard where the volcano did not spring up in the middle of the night to destroy us as it did in recurring nightmares, yet where cancer crept in and stole away the stability and warmth that protected us.

I am from the glades of isolation

And the classrooms of loneliness

From the prison in my heart that branded me unfit to live.

I am from the hurricane winds that refused to let me stand, but the strength of the saplings I clung to allowed me to fight my way home.

I am from the tomb.

And yet from that place of death, He has called me forth, back into the sunlight.


Time Management with God

Azalea clusterLord -- I am undisciplined


-- To a point. Not totally. --


With God: all things are possible.

If you called me into this direction, as long as I lean on you, I can do it.

I suppose I can use Saturdays to catch up..

Of course -- this only leaves about three hours a day to write...


-- Let Me take care of that. --


But You said to give You first four hours of my day.


-- And you aren't? –


Well, I sure haven't been.


-- No, you haven't. But you are working in that direction. This time in a better way. It is not My will for you to always work exhausted. Yes sometimes that will happen, even have to happen, but not as a habit. If you live that way habitually, what resources will you call on when I call you to a more pressed time?

 It isn't all spiritual, you know. I have built emergency resources into the body.

They are for emergencies. Not daily living.

As you already know, you have some long running, deeply entrenched, bad habits of time management. Your natural tendencies run amok with the lack of externally imposed time frames. And yes, there is some compulsiveness that plays into it. Plus you never had anyone to teach you how to do this. But I will teach you.

I will lead you. This is what you want, and what I want. Live and move in tandem. You'll learn to lean on me as much as any missionary, for that is what you are.

And no. That does not mean run and open your e-mail right now. After 3 PM. That is when you can look at. I will help you. You are helping people. That will grow, but first I have to get you to the point of handling the assignments I've already given you.

It isn't just "write." Remember I told you to practice. I've been telling you. I let you see how you will struggle without it. Yes, I blessed those times anyway. But they can be/will be more.

The rest will come. Sooner than you think.

And rest is important for the rest of it, too.

It is useless to continually flog a tired body. The mind just will not follow along. Cannot flog a brain into action. That would turn into a mushy pulp, wouldn't it? --


Ugh. That's a nasty picture.


-- Yes – and nasty what you do to your brain when you try to function like this. Hope is right about the growth hormone and regeneration. I don't want you relying on your medication just to stay awake. --


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


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

          Silly girl. I'm not going to leave you.

And you don't owe Me "bible reading time," either. That will come again.

First things first... --


That's a big lesson...


-- Part of it. A big part. Wrapped into it is saying no to yourself.  No one likes to do that. I didn't like to do it, either! It is hard.

But it gets easier with practice.

Habits. Let's work on establishing new habits. This month. Keep working towards it.

Yes, I will give you the determination to see it through. --


Hmmm... wonder which fruit of the Spirit...


-- No you don't! Not the time to read, even the Bible.



             I believe perseverance is the word you are looking for.

And no, don't look it up now.

Look it up tomorrow --




Buying Not Bread

Dogwood in sand

Well I still did not get down here first thing. I started cleaning the stove.

-- You're distracting --

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


-- Patty. You don't think you do, but you enjoy it once you get going. Think --


Yes, I was up late working on a blog entry. It takes so long. How do people like Sarah Hey, do it?


-- You’ll get faster as you write more. --


Then I started to go through these piles of papers. I see time slipping away and I am so disgusted with myself.


-- Don't be. You'll get there.

You are, under line that twice, are making progress.

It takes time AND focus. Time alone won't do it.

Continuing to stay focused on the goal ahead, will. --


I started thinking about the website. Mike is out this evening. I can work on it and that excites me. Then I realized I'd better not touch the Internet until I've got the daily stuff. And maybe some cleaning done.


Or maybe not.


Chores wait, neighbor's needs have piled up. If I could just vacuum and put away the way the last bit of the mess! But I want to write even if it's only to post.


-- Use your desire to motivate you through your "chores."--


Like my grandmother?


-- Yes. --


You provided a good example for me. Thank You.

Work towards pleasure, even if the pleasure is actually a form of work. That would help. It would be nice to work towards something I love to do instead of work towards more chores.


One thing, I finally begin to see time really does keep moving. If I fritter away an hour and a half, it is gone...

Yet I can't be a machine.


I am constantly in danger of spending myself on not-bread.



Plastic Guards and the King of Hearts


from 3D wallpaersI 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. Even if they were strong and mighty guards. I could breach them at a walk. It makes no difference how strong or how small a defense against Me you wage. There is no comparison. I am very, very big and you are very, very small. You are so tiny and helpless and defenseless. All your defenses and the defenses of man through the ages, even if pulled together are nothing to Me.


Except for one thing: love.


I will not take what is not given freely, for that is not Mine to take.


All that you have has been given to you by My hand. When you give of your substance or time, you return a portion of what was given to you.

But there is one thing you can give to Me, your love. Encased within that love are trust and the very essence of yourself. And when obedience springs out of this place, it becomes a gift to Me rather than simply obedience. While obedience has value in its own right, it is not really what I am looking for. Yes, to obey is better than sacrifice, but genuine love/trust is better than both.

Back to plastic barriers. From a strength perspective, you may as well think of them as 4 inches of Saran wrap. But I gave you free will, and it is your choice. I will not take that which is not given freely. As I told you before, that would be rape, and I don't treat My creatures like that.

I will add to that. It would be a rape of the most hideous magnitude to your soul that you cannot comprehend it. If I would not treat My creatures like that, I certainly would not treat those created in My own image in that way, especially those who are My children.

I give my love freely. Is it is here for you at all times. I gave you the ability to do the same. It has been marred by sin and trauma, but it is still there. It is your choice. I will continue to heal you, but I prefer to do it from within those places rather than externally.

But you need to let Me in...

                                                 Of course. ---