That’s What You Get

 This website was created because of a story I told my sister.  When I was a little girl I was playing outside with my niece Pam.  We had the bright idea of making a tire swing.  So we tied a small shovel to the end of a rope and proceeded to throw the rope over the branch of a tree in the backyard.  Well Pam threw the shovel and guess who tried to catch it?  Yes, that was me with blood dripping down my face.  I ran into the house crying.  Mom, with absolutely no-show of emotion promptly got a towel and put it to my bleeding head.  Then she asked the question “What were you doing?”  So I gave her the whole story.  Of course it was all Pam’s fault!  Mom gave me a little hug, put a band-aid on the cut and said these words which I never forgot.  “Well honey, that’s what you get.”

So next time you do something stupid, think of my mom and her words of wisdom.  “That’s What You Get!”

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Obedience Brings Blessings By Tami Crowley

If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him. Luke 1l:13
Several years ago, a handful of mothers got together once a month to pray for their children. They prayed all the typical things that mothers hope for; good health, good grades, good choices in friendships, safety and that they grow to love the Lord. They did not only pray for their own children, but prayed for each child in several classrooms by name. The children at school would even write prayers on slips of paper and leave it for the praying moms group. It was a sweet time where the mothers met and their friendships grew out of the common bond of motherhood and love for God.
Through the years together, these women became comfortable to pray out loud, to cry out to God for little broken fingers and sometimes broken hearts. They prayed for pets who died, sick grandparents, and children who had troubled home lives. These women grew to know the details of these children’s lives and prayed for them for years. Eventually, the children went to different high schools, colleges and ultimately had careers of their own.
These women stayed together. Year after year, these women got together a few times a year to catch up and say a little prayer. A bond had been formed, with Christ as the center. They had the certainty of knowing that God hears the pleas of mothers, and the faith that all things are possible through Him.
What started out as seeking good for the children and being obedient in prayer on behalf of their children, ended up being a blessing for these moms. A friendship was forged, where women felt safe to state their joys and concerns. They watched their children grow up, and they have aged as well, hitting significant birthday milestones.
These women got more than they asked for, and when God is honored and placed first, God always give more than can be imagined.
God poured out his blessing of FRIENDSHIP.
I Corinthians 2:9 What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived, the thing God has prepared for those who love God
By Tami Crowley
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GOPHER HUNTING By Gisele Peterson


By Gisele Peterson

The more I pleaded with my father to take me gopher hunting, the more exasperated he became with my persistent nagging and me.  My father just didn’t understand the importance I placed on the activity; because he wouldn’t take me, I was losing status with my peers.  I felt excluded and alone; believing I was the only child in my 4th grade North Dakota classroom that had been deprived of this challenging experience.  The other kids bragged every Monday about how many gophers they shot and about the difficulty of the shots.  I just stood beside them listening, unable share in their enthusiasm; envying them this exciting adventure from which I was excluded because my father refused to take me gopher hunting.

Hunting gophers in the spring in North Dakota was a rite of passage in my youth over 30 years ago.  Gophers could overrun newly planted fields eating the seeds and building tunnels in the earth, which disrupted the roots of the young plants.  Fathers (mothers generally didn’t participate in this activity) would take their children out to shoot these pests, not only to reduce the gopher population but also to spend some quality time with their offspring.  Even though the term “quality time” did not exist during my childhood, the experience did. Both of my parents spent time with my sister and me.

My father’s refusal wasn’t a method of punishment or neglect, but because he generally disliked hunting.  Most men in our little community and most of my male relatives hunted for sport, while my father’s rejected this activity. At gatherings I listened intently to the stories about the buck that got away, or more rarely, the successful hunt.  The triumphant hunter often shared some of the bounty and we would eat venison for several weeks.  Which, truth be told, venison was not my favorite meat as a child.  I would only tolerate the gamy flavor because while eating I imagined myself being the hunter, sneaking through the woods and shooting that buck on my first shot that others had missed – my skill obviously better than everyone else I knew.

My shooting skills were pretty good for a kid.  Practicing with my BB gun was a daily ritual, which I enthusiastically embedded into my routine.  I could hit the bulls-eye the majority of the time from a fair distance away.  I would drag my father to watch my practice sessions, thinking I was being sly in my persuasive measures. The plan was to impress him with my shooting skills; to make him think I was wasting my great skill shooting only at a stationary target.  He would stand patiently and watch for a time, compliment me and leave, with me feeling that he missed the subtle hint that he should take me gopher hunting. But in reality he understood my obvious ploys and chose to ignore them, hoping I would outgrow this phase and he wouldn’t have to take me.

My begging, pleading, and of course whining, finally did wear him down and he reluctantly agreed to take me out on Saturday morning.  I spent Friday evening practicing shooting, checking my gun out, making sure I had a large supply of BB’s to handle the huge number of gophers I planned on shooting.  It took a long time to fall asleep, and then dreams of my prowess as a great hunter kept my adrenaline pumping even in my sleep.  I rose early and shoveled the pancakes in my mouth as quickly as possible eager to be on the way.  My father took his time eating and drinking his coffee while he chatted with my mother, my impatience clearly written on my posture.  Finally he finished; there was to be no more delay – I was actually going gopher hunting!

I almost ran to the pickup where my father properly stowed both my gun and his rifle.  The ride out to the fields over dusty gravel roads in a noisy pickup with poorly working shocks was filled with human silence.  I was self absorbed in my imagination, trying to guess how many gophers I would shoot, trying to analyze how much more difficult it would be to hit a moving target, knowing it was going to be a glorious day filled with conquest.  I felt the pickup slowing and pulling over to the side of the road and I looked out the passenger side window. The sky was a vivid blue with only a few white fluffy clouds dotting its surface.  Below the sky was the dark earth recently plowed with the furrowed lines of turned soil giving the gophers a stimulating playground to leap and scamper over.  The field was covered in golden fluffy gophers romping, playing or just going about normal gopher activities.  I could hardly believe I was here and had hundreds of targets to choose from.

My father retrieved our guns, handed me mine, and walked over to a small incline in the road which afforded a better view of the field.  I followed him to the rise and scanned the field trying to choose my first trophy.  I decided to select the big guy sitting up on his haunches, his side turned to me; he appeared to be the obvious target amid the throng of moving fur.  My plan was to first pick off this easy one, and then I would move onto the more difficult moving targets.  I planted my feet in the proper position.  The coolness of the metal barrel seeped into the palm of my left hand as I raised my gun. Pressing the butt securely against my right shoulder, I cocked my head to see the target through the sight.  It was better than I could have imagined; he was right in my sight, holding perfectly still just for me.  I gently pulled the trigger, heard the shot, and saw the gopher fall.

It was not a clean shot. He squealed this high-pitched sound that made the hair on my arms stand up.  He writhed on ground, gyrating on his back, wiggling side to side, his little legs pumping — all the while emitting this sound I had never heard before and never wanted to hear again.  My mouth hung open, tears formed in my eyes.  I was transfixed watching this torment that I caused.  From the corner of my eye I saw my father raise his rifle, take aim and shoot. The bullet exploded into the gopher, mercifully ending the squeals and the thrashing.  But leaving nothing but scraps of still flesh and fur where once a bright eyed rodent had sat.  The scent of discharged gunpowder burned my eyes and tears freely rolled down my cheeks; I couldn’t believe I caused this situation.  I was the reason we were standing there and I had caused that poor gopher’s death.

I felt my father’s hand on my shoulder and I turned to look up at him; I could barely see him through my tear filled eyes and when blinking failed to clear them, the back of my hand was employed.  He waited patiently for me to meet his blue eyes and then tenderly said “Are you ready to go home now?”  My mouth moved to answer, but no sound would come out, so I shook my head in the affirmative.  He reached over and took my gun from my tense and sweaty hand, then gently turned me toward the pickup and patted me on my shoulder as encouragement to walk over and climb in.

I felt like I was in a bad dream, a nightmare of my own making as I sleepwalked to the vehicle.  As I was seating myself in the pickup, I heard my father from the driver’s side mumble “Thank you God”.  And I understood that even though the day had turned out nothing like I had imagined that my father and I now shared a special bond. He would never have to take me hunting again.

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“Owning Self Bearing” by Maria S. Wells

Maria S. Wells and her childrenAs a single Mom from the time my daughter was 18 months and my son 4 years old, there were many times that I would think I was talking to the wall, and that neither of them were paying attention to anything I said or did. In fact, it seemed as if their goal was to do the complete opposite. Having no family to rely on, and as they reached their teenage years, I constantly prayed for energy and wisdom to keep me aware of what they were doing and to remind me not to give up. I also prayed for protection to keep them safe, as I knew they needed more than just me to watch over them. In the back of my mind, I compared dealing with teenagers like talking to someone who was unconscious. We are told that a person in a coma can hear us even though they don’t respond. So I keep thinking if that is true, then maybe my teenagers might be listening, even though they were not responding!

As I write this, both of my children are now in their late 20′s , they have turned out to be great adults and we have incredible relationships. I now have validation that the inner wisdom to keep repeating values and life lessons really pays off. A few years back, my daughter was assigned a writing assignment in college entitled “My Best Mentor”. To my ultimate surprise, I was her best mentor for teaching her beyond the basics! She went onto say……”Mom taught me my values, importance of integrity and owning self bearing. She taught me how to listen when it is not easy, and how to deal with conflict. I learned from my mother to be loyal and fair and that character really counts.” To hear this was the greatest gift I could have received. Having walked through the fire of child rearing, I love to encourage other parents who are going through similar situations to stick with it, there will be light at the end of the tunnel, and to remember our children really do watch and listen to everything we say and do!

Maria S. Wells

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Strictness by Kelli Fritsche

There are so many things I don’t know about my mother.  One example would be that I don’t know what it’s like to not have a mother.  She has known that feeling for 50 years plus a day or two… but I suspect that even just one day without her mother felt like 50 years, so maybe it feels like ten lifetimes now – today – when she writes it down and relives it in written form, maybe for the first time, and sends it to me to review.

What a great job my mom did without the guidance and assistance so many of us take for granted in our mom’s when having children.  Although I don’t know it (gratefully, honestly!) firsthand, I know it to be true.  She had a strong-willed (to put it mildly) daughter as well as a son, and a husband who traveled frequently for his career.  She had a big, gigantic, reality-altering move down the Eastern Seaboard in the early 80’s and said goodbye to friends, family, community and she did it with a smile even though it probably destroyed a huge part of her, for a while, at least.

She wrestled with my independent and at times indomitable spirit … literally and figuratively, and probably doesn’t realize how much she helped to mold me into the strong and I’d say fairly decent woman I am today.  Obviously, as a grad student, I need to write papers – which I love.  Recently, I had a project due where I discussed three values that I’d learned formally through education but also learned by my family in an informal socialization style.  One of my values was “hard work ethic” and one of the sub-values I sussed out was “strictness.”  Through my readings, it became apparent to me that mom’s value of strictness – and it was a serious value – is very Asian.

In many Asian countries, parents are expected to treat their children with the utmost strictness; to do otherwise would be showing they had no love for their children, as well as no respect for their parents, who had acted in the same way, promoting strictness as a value.  Studies showed Asian parents now living in the US with children attending Westernized schools trying to maintain that same sense of strictness – of love – but to the detriment of their children.  Strictness is not looked upon favorably by children or their peers!  In turn, it’s not always looked upon very favorably by other parents, who find it tedious, or a chore, to monitor their children that closely.

What many of my friends and some loved ones see in me is an overly critical inner voice that is hard on myself.  Strict, if you will.  What I see in myself is a personal, inner strictness that helps to define me.  It is the flame of inspiration that keeps me going.  It makes me jog a tiny bit further up the mountainous trail because I know it’s good for me.  It makes me wake up at 5:30am even though I’m unemployed and could sleep until whenever, but I need to work on my grad school papers and kick major butt because there is absolutely no excuse not to … I’m unemployed!  It keeps me conscious of my checkbook and my desire for a coffee or a new t-shirt or an extra tank of gas.  I’m very grateful and thankful to my mom for helping to foster this innate sense, and a part of her that she gave to me will forever be alive, helping to guide me through my many chapters.

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Author: Gail Henyecz Fritsche
Sept. 7, 2012

September 7, 1962 was 50 years ago, yet I remember the details as if it were only last week. It was the second day of the new school year, my junior year at Weehawken High School . The day before I had tried to explain to my mother why I would be coming home later than I had in my sophomore year, she couldn’t understand that my scheduled had me on the last bus home. As I walked up the long gray side porch of our home and into the kitchen I was stunned, my next door neighbor was sitting at our kitchen table where my mom would normally be. Before I could say anything she stood, grabbed her belongings that had been scattered on the table, and with a very solemn sounding voice said, “Your mother has had a heart attack. The paramedics and doctor were here, and now she is sleeping on your bed. I called your father, but I didn’t want to alarm him so I told him that she was not feeling well. I told your Aunt Rita to come as well.” That said she walked out the door and went to her home next door.

My bedroom was just off the kitchen where I was standing, frozen in time. I stared into my bedroom and saw Mom laying on my bed shaking and mumbling, “I am hot”. I went to her . I touched her arm and it felt like ice.
I believe that was the moment that I was carried by God. I went immediately to the phone which hung on the kitchen wall just outside my bedroom and dialed the police department. My mother’s family had lived in the little town of Secaucus, New Jersey since the 1920’s. The police knew the family and immediately sent a team of policemen to our home. As I stood in the living room and looked down the expanse of railroad rooms I could see the police trying frantically to resuscitate Mom. At the same time they were shaking their heads indicating that she was not responding. Aunt Rita, my mother’s sister pulled up in her car. When she saw the police cars parked in front of the house and all the neighbors standing outside she realized the seriousness of what was happening. She burst from her car, stumbled up the porch stairs and rushed into the house past me and into the back bedroom where her sister lay. I went into Mom’s bedroom, knelt down, and prayed. I already knew that God had called Mom home.

What I knew at this tender age of 16 was that I had been so blessed to have had my mother for ALL THESE YEARS! Mom had been orphaned by the time she was 11. Yes, I had definitely been blessed. I had 16 years of memories that would last me a lifetime.

When I think about this woman that I carry in my heart, I think of how strong she was. After her parents died her older brother and sister were taken to live with a prominent family in Secaucus, but because Mom was so young, she was sent to the county orphanage. When she was old enough to leave the orphanage she started apprenticing as a beautician. By the time she was in her mid 20’s she owned her own beauty salon. Never did she harbor anger or resentment. She didn’t have time to be angry, life for her, Loretta Margaret Cormier, was too exciting. She learned to ride horses, go hunting, shoot skeets, compete in roller skating. You name it, my mom did it.

Mom met and married Sargent Joe S. Henyecz in Tampa, Florida on August 3, 1945. She sold her beautiy business to her sister and brother-in-law and became a stay-at-home mom. For the next 17 years Mom would cultivate her creative side. She read everything she could get her hands on. She always had a project! She taught herself to sew, refinish floors and furniture, she was very involved in the PTA, and she was devoted to her daughter and younger son, John. When I was in first grade Mom insisted that I be given piano lessons. She found a teacher and signed me up. There was one catch…WE DID NOT HAVE A PIANO. We also did not have money to buy a piano. My mother, using her amazing creative talents, constructed a piano key board out of cardboardfor me! I practiced and practiced every day, but it wasn’t until the actual lesson that I got to hear what the songs really sounded like!

In the early 50’s Dad re-enlisted in the air force . We moved and moved. From 1950 to 1957 our family moved 8 times. Mom had no help, no family to watch my brother or me as she packed and unpacked. No old friends to talk to and be supportive. Telephone costs were outrageously expensive and, of course, there was no SKYPE. But, she stayed upbeat and positive.

In 1952 she fell down a flight of stairs and broke her knee cap. The surgeons , upon examining her exposed bone, noticed fatty deposits similar to those they found in soldiers who had been severely wounded in battle. She was diagnosed with familial hyper- cholesterolemia and told she would have only a year or two to live.

In 1957 Dad was reassigned to the New York area and we moved, again, from San Antonio, Texas to East Meadow, NY. Mom’s new doctor suggested that she undergo an experimental study that was being done at Rockefeller Institute in New York City. She was accepted as a patient and for 9 months she lived at the hospital and was fed a diet of fish oil. My brother and I were sent to live in Secaucus with Mom’s sister, Rita. Dad was transferred to Connecticut. We would visit Mom in the hospital only on weekends when someone was able to take us. She tried hard to be upbeat for John and me, but I know now how difficult it had to have been for her. It was much worse than the orphanage or being uprooted and moved all over the country; she was now separated from her babies and told that she would not live very long. She didn’t smile as much but she was still full of life. She was my heroine.

When Mom was released from Rockefella Institute I was going into 6th grade. Mom convinced Dad that she had to live in Secaucus where her sister was; it was the right thing to do for the children she would insist . It took about a year but finally Mom got her energy back. She encouraged my brother and me to get involved in all sorts of activities. When I was in Junior High School I became interested in acting, Mom researched acting groups and WE joined one of the community acting groups and. we were cast in a local production of THE WOMEN . Mom played the part of the grandmother and I was the child. Having been a pretty decent swimmer most of my life ,Mom thought I should become a lifeguard and made certain I got the training needed at the Hoboken YMCA. I think if I had said I want to be an astronaut when I grow up, Mom would have found a way to get me all I need to succeed as the first woman in space!

As I look back over those last 50 years I can see just how blessed I was to have the woman , Loretta Margaret Cormier Henyecz, for my mother. All that I am today I attribute to her. Thank you, Mom, for sharing with me your love for life. Thank you for showing me that when life gets tough, that is when I need to get going. Thank you Mom for inspiring me to live my life with integrity and devotion . I loved you then. I love you now. I will love you always. Gail

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The Power of Prayer

My kids attended a small Christian school for their elemenary and middle school years. There was a group of Moms who got together once a month to pray for the kids, the school and the requests that came in. I was invited to come and went just to observe. I did not know how to pray let alone pray outloud or pray for someone else. Well by the time my kids graduated, I had learned to pray and had learned to even lead the group. We prayed for all the kids requests…everything from a sick gerbil to sick and fighting parents. We will never know how much the kids appreciated knowing someone was praying for them. I appreciated all the prayers for safety as we went on the class trip to Washington DC. It gave me peace. Then because I had such a good experience with the prayer group there, I searched out a high school Moms In Prayer group. There are a group of us Moms who still get together to share the bonds of freindship formed while lifting our children up in prayer! Prayer has made an impact on my life and brought me lifelong friends as well.

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Fresh Baked Bread by Monty Hart

Aleda HartI was stationed at Alameda Naval Air base.  We had off base housing. One day I came home and the house smelled of fresh baked bread. I would never allow my wife to buy store bought bread again. This photo was taken about sixty years later in our home in Ridgecrest, Calif. I was outside working in the yard and I came around the house by the Kitchen vent. I could smell fresh baked bread.  I went in and took this picture. You can tell by the look on her face that she knew that she was pleasing me. She cut a thick piece off each end and we sat down to eat our buttered fresh bread.

Monty Hart in memory of his beautiful wife, Aleda the mother of their children.

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Mom and Christmas by Joan Elder

Mom and Christmas,  As far back as I can remember Mom always made Christmas special. When we were young we didn’t have much money so things were hard. One Christmas I remember most was Mom made doll clothes for our old dolls. Years later when my family were young and we lived all over the country we always managed to get home for Christmas.  Now as Mom has gotten old she still enjoys Christmas and all her Family. Her family has been the most important thing in her life, so it is a lot to live up to.  She has been a role model for all of us.  Joan Elder

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On The Farm by Joan and Dave Elder

When we moved to a farm our five children were pretty young. We tried several things to make ends meet. One of our first endeavors to make extra money was to raise cucumbers .We planted an acre of them. They had to be picked every other day.

Steve, Cindy and Michael helped pick and sometimes the boys on the neighboring farm. Tony & Elaine were too young to help much. Dave worked second shift on his job in town. One morning I had to wake him up and tell him the extra help wasn’t coming so he would have to get up. He pulled me back to bed and told me not to worry. When he got up he took the tractor and plowed half of those cucumbers up. Then we put an ad in the paper (pick your own cucumbers.) We sat under a tree with the kids playing and relaxed.

We raised tobacco on our farm to make the mortgage payment. All the kids helped work with never a complaint. Also we milked 40 cows and that was an everyday chore. When our oldest son Steve graduated high school someone asked him what he was going to do now. He was quick to answer that he was not going to be a farmer!! As a result our children learned about hard work and went on to all have successful careers. We are very proud of all of them.

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The Escape by Helve Massakas

By Helve Massakas – My Mom Aino

My mom will be 91 this Nov. 10th, 2012. She had a little stroke last June which has made her lose her voice and making it difficult to swallow. She lives in a Long Term Care facility in Toronto Canada, with the help of a private Nurse. However, her mind is clear as a whistle and her memory intact.

When she was only 21 years old, her beloved Country of Estonia was under siege by the Russian Communists. The following is her story of bravery and stamina in a war-torn country.

During the 1940′s Estonians were deported to Siberia by trainloads, especially the elite and intellectuals. My father’s uncle was a well-known General. He and the President disappeared one day, never to return.

The Communists were on a mission to search and destroy the foundation of democracy in the little country of Estonia. Russia needed seaports and thus it needed controlled domains.

Our family home built by my dad and my grandfather was just outside the capital Tallinn. My mom and I were prisoners there…a young 22 year old woman and a 1 year old child under the watchful eyes of gun- handling Russian officers.  Bombs exploded close by, shattering our windows. My mom was placed on a chair with me on her lap in the hallway. The officers were waiting for my dad (his only crime being that he was the nephew of a General). Whoever came to the house became a prisoner as well. The first visitor was my 17 year old aunt. While my mom kept the officers” attention by talking and giving medical advice (she was a medical doctor-in-training) my young aunt excused herself to the bathroom and on toilet paper wrote a note for anyone approaching the house to warn my dad. It was successful.

Through my mom’s persuasion to a young Estonian communist officer in the group, our lives were spared. The Russians left and we were able to escape at night, hiding in a barn belonging to a friend some distance away. We lived in that barn for two weeks. With my mom in charge of the family (all 8 of us) and my dad repairing a broken down boat so we could escape to Finland across the rough Baltic Sea. We eventually left the shores of Estonia in the middle of the dark night to never return. It was our luck and the guidance of my mom who saved us. Although our little boat was tossed around and fear of the enemy was lurking, we were rescued by sheer luck by a Swedish Coast Guard ship from our own sinking vessel.

This is just one of many stories of my mom and her bravery.

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