There’s Always Something to be Thankful for

There’s Always Something to Be Grateful For.

We are looking to encourage gratitude and hope for our community of Sisterhood, create awareness, and inspire hope. We know there is always something to be grateful for.

It is so interesting how an attitude of gratitude and a heart filled with appreciation can change our day, our minds and lift up our spirits. Gratitude isn’t just in our head: It takes root in our heart and in our senses, for one beautiful moment…and then the next. Living our life with gratitude means choosing to focus your time and attention on what you appreciate. The goal isn’t to block out difficulties. Most if not all of us have had some very difficult times in this past 2 years. We want to approach those difficulties from a different perspective. Perhaps even make a different deliberate choice. Gratitude soothes our turbulent minds, feelings of frustration, loneliness, emptiness and even hopelessness by connecting us with the wonderfully ordinary things, some are great and some very small. Places, people, experiences, services, things that we might otherwise just take for granted.

Here are a few things, that I am grateful for. The breath I take today. Every opportunity I can greet someone with a smile and kind or encouraging word. Sunshine and rain. The ability to call or write a note to someone on my mind. The ability to drive a car in a safe and gentle neighborhood. Warm clothes to wear. Hands and feet to assist me with whatever I am doing. My dog who greets me happily everyday with abounding energy. Neighbors I can reach out to… Zoom App to stay connected. Mail delivery. Coffee in the morning or a cup of warm tea. All of you near and far, my beautiful Sorority of friendship. Even feeling the aches and pains knowing I am still alive is worth being grateful for.

You see it doesn’t take much to know and experience the good and hope in our everyday’s everyday! We in the Morale Committee encourage you all to go ahead and spin the gratitude wheel of life. Think of anything at all in your life that you can feel thankful for and then share it with us. Feel the difference. Warmth, joy, lightness, hope everyday.

We as SPG’’s Morale Committee believe there is always something to be grateful for and we desire all our precious sisters will join us in keeping hearts of gratitude. We also hope you will take a moment and share with us what you’re grateful for to help encourage our Sisterhood with gratitude and hope. Please use #SPGThankful

You are all deeply loved, cherished and unique. We are grateful for all of you!

SPG Morale Committee

Celebrating Our Sister Beryl

 

Tonight, Delta Omega Chapter celebrated our Chapter Sister, Beryl Humphreys,  90th birthday.  We treated her to dinner at one of her favorite restaurants, Spago’s.  Everyone enjoyed their wonderfully prepared Italian meal.  Beryl was delighted to receive her birthday cards along with a little something extra in them.  Each birthday card was unique.  Beryl has been an SPG member for over 60 years.  Happy Birthday Beryl!

 

Delta Omega Chapter

 

The Gift of Me Time by Chris Willens, International Organizer

The Gift of “Me Time”

By Chris Wilkens

International Organizer

 

Cindy’s sister-in-law, Peggy, invited her to a Sigma Phi Gamma “rush party”.  This happened to be a “Tea” at mutual friends’ home.  This really sounded like something she would like.   A simple act of friendship, but this invitation changed Cindy’s life forever.

It was 1971. Cindy was married with one child and did not work. But that invitation excited Cindy- here was an organization that offered friendship (sisterhood) and an opportunity to serve others in her community. Just what she was looking for. Sorority became a big part of Cindy’s life. This became her “Me time”.

Cindy stayed home until their children went to school. Then she found a job and worked until she retired in 2011.  Yet her involvement with Sorority never faltered. Her husband, Dan, knew this time was important and so he watched the kids while she went to her Sorority meetings twice a month. He brought the children to events that were family-oriented. He even became an “honorary SPG” because he was always there to help with whatever needed done.

Cindy was a role model to her husband and children, showing them the importance of balance. Some family members disagreed and felt Cindy should be home with her family.  Dan recognized that Cindy was a better woman, wife and mother because of this group of women. SPG filled an important part of who she was.

In 2021, at International Convention in Las Vegas, Cindy received her 50year recognition in Sigma Phi Gamma! This was a journey that brought such joy, friendship and Sisterly love for her and her family!

So often, when sharing the beauty of SPG with younger women, we hear “I am so busy. I don’t have time for that.” But what would happen if we could share Cindy’s story with them? Introduce the concept of “me time”. What if we shared how Cindy’s husband saw the worth of “Cindy time” and how she was such a beautiful lady, inside and out, because of SPG? What if we shared that she and her family could participate in family-oriented events and help others in the community? What if we could offer the invitation Cindy’s sister offered and share that she could share this with some of her friends?

Are you reading this and just learning a little about Sigma Phi Gamma? This could be your story. Now. And 50 years from now! You could join this amazing group of ladies who have a whole lot of fun and help a lot of people in a lot of communities! We would love to give you the gift of “me time” with Sigma Phi Gamma!

Celebrating 50 Years in SPG by Helen Biales

Celebrating 50 years in SPG

 

Today I had a wonderful celebration with my Delta Omega sisters.  We were able to get together to celebrate my 50 years in sorority.  We went out for a wonderful dinner at Riccardo’s Restaurant which is situated on the Detroit River in a small town outside of Windsor.  The food was great as always but most of all the comradery shared with my sisters was phenomenal.  It has been over a year since all of us were able to gather together to celebrate anything.  Thank you for the lovely corsage, cards and dinner,  sisters.  You ladies are true great.  The neat thing was that my 50 year pin had just arrived this week so I was able to wear it to celebrate.

Also thank you to my other SPG sisters for the cards of congratulations.  I’m sorry I was unable to attend Convention to receive my pin in person.

Helen Biales, Delta Omega

 

“MAY ALL YOUR DAYS BE CIRCUS DAYS” by Betty Sprunger, International Editor

Another Circus week is in the books in Peru, Indiana and I am relieved, yet sad.  Let me explain.  Each year, the Peru Amateur Circus takes place in Peru.  Here, hundreds of kids from Miami County, ages 7-20, put on 11 shows of acts from tumbling to juggling, from high wire to the flying trapeze.  There are acts that, even in my dare-devil days, I would not have even thought about attempting.  These kids are amazing!  They are supported by an army of parents, trainers, and volunteers that make the week go smoothly.  The Circus band is top notch and provides professional music to accompany each act.  It gives goosebumps when the double somersault is caught on the trapeze and the crowd erupts with cheers and applause.  It is truly astounding what this week in July means to this city of 13,000.   I look forward to the Circus each year and am sad when it is over.

So why am I relieved?  Well, my Alpha Mu Chapter of SPG runs the concession stand in the circus building.  It is our biggest fundraiser but also is really a lot of work and none of us are getting any younger.  That is why we depend on husbands, children, grandchildren, and volunteers to help us sell the 4,000 to 5,000 boxes of popcorn, 4,000+ bags of cotton candy, 1,100+ hot dogs, hundreds of sno cones and thousands of bottles of soda and water.  We are pooped by the end of the week and relief comes in the form of rest, ibuprofen, ice backs and all sorts of braces.  That is why I am relieved.

So, there are several lessons that can be learned from this Circus week. First, the kids… they learn teamwork, trust in each other, and trust in themselves.  They build self-confidence and learn how to still “smile and style” when their act doesn’t go completely as planned.  The faith they develop in their trainers, not only teach them the acts, but to keep them safe while performing, is a bond that will last a lifetime.  It is truly a family, multi-generational affair.  That is part of what makes it so special.

As for working in the concession stand, we learn to trust and help each other, especially when things get chaotic.  For example, I may be working sno cones at one show.  But that is not all that I do.  I am passing drinks to the other end, passing hot dogs, helping someone who is overwhelmed.  Oh, and doing sno cones.  It hurts, it is tiring but we come together to raise money to give back to our community, and that makes it all worthwhile.  We are an SPG team and really can build Sisterhood through this week.

At the end of each show, the ringmaster ends with the words “Until we meet again, MAY ALL YOUR DAYS BE CIRCUS DAYS.”  In the spirit of what the Circus stands for, I could not agree more.

 

A difficult year made better by SPG by Kim Wolford

2020 was an exceedingly difficult year for me.  Losing my Husband, Tom, who had never been sick suddenly, then my mom, Evelyn Higgins (Nu Epsilon chapter), four months later.

I needed a break so I felt that attending International Convention was the best thing I could do.  June 26th was the one-year anniversary of my Husband, Tom Wolford’s passing.  Being surrounded by my Sigma Phi Gamma sisters on the 26th was the best thing that could lift me up.

Our Memorial Service was another hard thing to attend due to the fact I always roomed with my mom, Evelyn Higgins at convention.  She was one of the members we lost in November of 2020.

CODID was not the reason either one of them passed away.  I am still in my grieving stages and know I will have tears many times in the coming years.   One thing I can always look forward to is getting that note or email from the SPG Morale Committee, a card, text, or email from a sister just to say “Hi, I’ve been thinking about you” or “How are you”. It doesn’t matter what is said it just lifts me up and makes me feel good.

Help is available!

Dear sisters,

I am sharing some information that came across my desk on expenses for funerals for those who have died since January 20, 2020 due to the COVID-19 virus.

If you have not experienced a loss due to COVID, then I do hope that if you know somebody that has, you’ll be able to pass this information on to them.

Losing a loved one is never easy for anyone and sometimes with the expenses of funerals, it became a daunting task of just to take care of yourself from day to day. I am hoping that you will find something in this article and on the webpage that may help you.  If you need my help on anything, please do not hesitate to contact me.

With love, Jill Pyclik

International Vice President

Jillmarconi22@att.net

 

https://www.fema.gov/disasters/coronavirus/economic/funeral-assistance

Please check out the website for more information. I have only copied what is the basic information from the FEMA website.

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought overwhelming grief to many families. At FEMA, our mission is to help people before, during and after disasters. We are dedicated to helping ease some of the financial stress and burden caused by the virus.

Under the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 and the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, FEMA is providing financial assistance for COVID-19 related funeral expenses incurred after January 20, 2020.

How to Apply

COVID-19 Funeral Assistance Line Number

Applications begin on April 12, 2021
844-684-6333 | TTY: 800-462-7585

Hours of Operation:
Monday – Friday
9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Eastern Time

Call this dedicated toll-free phone number to get a COVID-19 Funeral Assistance application completed with help from FEMA’s representatives. Multilingual services will be available.

We are experiencing high call volume on the Funeral Assistance phone line, which is causing some technical issues. Please try again later if you get a busy signal or your call doesn’t connect. There is no deadline to apply.

Get answers to frequently asked questions about the application process on our Funeral Assistance FAQ page.

                                                                                                                                 Who is Eligible?

To be eligible for funeral assistance, you must meet these conditions:

  • The death must have occurred in the United States, including the U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia.
  • The death certificate must indicate the death was attributed to COVID-19.
  • The applicant must be a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national, or qualified alien who incurred funeral expenses after January 20, 2020.
  • There is no requirement for the deceased person to have been a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national, or qualified alien.

If you had COVID-19 funeral expenses, we encourage you to keep and gather documentation. Types of information should include:

  • An official death certificate that attributes the death directly or indirectly to COVID-19 and shows that the death occurred in the United States, including the U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia.
  • Funeral expenses documents(receipts, funeral home contract, etc.) that includes the applicant’s name, the deceased person’s name, the amount of funeral expenses, and the dates the funeral expenses happened.
  • Proof of funds received from other sourcesspecifically for use toward funeral costs. We are not able to duplicate benefits received from burial or funeral insurance, financial assistance received from voluntary agencies, government agencies, or other sources.
  • How Funds are Received

If you are eligible for funeral assistance you will receive a check by mail, or funds by direct deposit, depending on which option you choose when you apply for assistance.

 

Province Meetings- A Crunch Time for Your VIO by Barbara Spreen, International Historian

 

I am a “seasoned” VIO, I attended two in-person Province meetings last year. So, you would think that this year would have been so much easier. NOT SO! First thing after the New Year, when no one is in the mood and it’s been an unusual year what with the Pandemic, I have to contact the Provinces that I’ll be meeting with via Zoom to get all their financial reports, from each chapter and the Province, signed, accurate and delivered. Seems simple enough, everyone has been filling out these forms for years, but this year the Council threw a wrench into things by trying to make the actual reporting simpler. NOT SO!

The newer, fillable, adds totals on it’s own, form confused 75% of those whose job it is to fill them out. A learning curve indeed. Income and Expense sections seemed to be going alright, then we get to the new bottom of the Expense page and WHAT?  This section was made to simplify the reporting of individual chapter reports onto the one I&E form but that was not to be. To the Council, it seemed simple to take the Grand Total Services from the Chapter Service Reports and type it into that area, add Intangibles above (what comes in, must go out, so these two numbers should be the same), then Other Services Rendered (a list of items bought or donated by members or other helpful people for a chapter service project-things that do not go through the chapter checkbook) but the confusion is what is the difference between Intangibles and Other Services Rendered? In reality, nothing, they are both the value of all things donated but not paid for by the chapter’s money! Service Hours and Mileage for doing Service Projects should speak for themselves but, can I claim things that I do on my own or is just for services done as a chapter? If it is done, and the recipient knows that you are doing it as service through your chapter, it can be either. For example, I donate blood to the Red Cross and they know that I do that as service through my SPG chapter, our members adopt ES/ARC clients at Christmas, this is a chapter service. Then,  I take parishioners to appointment and the store but that is done through my church-no double dipping. Ways & Means appeared simple enough.

Did I make it any clearer? Confuse you more? Do you think I’m beating a dead horse? Maybe, but it would make everyone’s job easier at Province time if the Council truly knew where you are struggling, not just being complacent, with filling out the year-end reports. Don’t just complain, send and email to your VIO or International officers and let us know how we can make it easier for all of us to make next year’s reporting go smoother. Less frustrations for ALL! Your Council really wants to make things simpler and help our membership!

SPG by Pat Drexler, International Service Secretary

I have been a member of Sigma Phi Gamma for 32 years.  I belonged to Eta Sigma Chapter for 27 years, then went off and started a new Chapter, Omicron Gamma.  This organization has always been a part of my life.  Both my aunts belonged and so did my mom.  I had been going to charity functions since I was a little girl, so I knew most of the women in Eta Sigma for a long time.

I am deeply passionate about this group of amazing women.  When I go to International Convention, I am awed at how everyone just acts like they have known each other forever, when, in fact, we just met each other on an elevator!

When we ask people join this wonderful organization, we never know where they are in their walk of life.  We recently brought in 3 new ladies to our Chapter.  It has been a joy to get to know each of them.  One of the new members recently sent me a card “thanking” us for asking her to join us.  The card made me cry.  You never know whose life you touch just by asking them to join a fantastic group of caring, giving, loving ladies.  I am “thankful” that she joined us and made our membership grow and added so much joy to our group.

Let us keep asking, you never know how much it will bring to all of you!

 

Pat Drexler

Omicron Gamma Chapter

 

 

 

What’s with the Weather! by Barbara Spreen

 

Oh, the weather outside is frightful but the sun yesterday was so delightful, and since we have no place to go, let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!  NOT!!! Well, odds are that this winter weather has affected you and your family, nearby or far-flung, with snow (lots of snow) or ice (worse than snow in my opinion) or just darn COLD temperatures. Stay inside and stay warm. If you or your family are affected by the loss of electricity, I pray that it comes back on quickly and that there are no ill effects or medical emergencies because of the loss of power.

As for me. . . well, a lot of you know me too well. I do not take staying home easily. I shoveled several times Monday and Tuesday. My neighbors did some snow blowing, which helped me a bit, but my alley is my main concern because it is not a straight shot out to the street. I live on what is called an “H” alley. Meaning there are two entrances off my street and the one behind me-at either end of the houses on the side streets, then they connect down the middle between my street and the one behind me. Alleys rarely get plowed, heck side streets rarely get plowed in the older downtown neighborhoods of Fort Wayne, Indiana where I live. My street (one block long) gets plowed from the main street on one side and a neighborhood street on the other only because there is a grade school across the street and the parents that drop off and pick up their children from school come down my street, turn left (it’s a one way) and then block the parking lot and street twice a day. So, all the cars that park on the one side of the street that they are allowed to park on get snowed in. When they shovel themselves out it all goes back onto the street, aaargh!!  But I digress, back to my alley. Since most cars park on the street, during the winter the TON of snow we get is just too much for newer cars with the low front bumpers to drive through.

Two weeks ago, we had a snowstorm. I thought I could make it to Sunday Mass, so off I went. I did make it… eventually, but first I got stuck in the snow in my alley… an angel backed into the alley, pulled me out, said have a good day and left. I know he was an angel, because where I was stuck, my white car was barely visible from the street. I made it safely home from Church that day, but parked in the school lot across the street for two days, instead of my garage off the alley, because I knew the city would plow the parking lot and I wouldn’t get stuck in my alley again.

This week’s snow was WAY worse! This time, I made arrangements to have the alley plowed. The plow came and did what he thought needed to be done. He told me someone had used their snowblower to do most of the alley, so he charged me less. GREAT!… not so great ☹. I turned right going out of my garage (as always) and noticed that that end of the alley wasn’t plowed, but the other way looked clear. So, I backed up into my garage and tuned left to leave, right into a snow bank I hadn’t noticed- stuck in the snow bank and couldn’t get out my driver’s side door because of the deep snow. I called my neighbor for help (thank goodness he was home), while waiting for him to come help, I decided to try getting out of the car on the passenger’s side. Picture me sitting on top of the console pulling my feet up between the steering wheel and shift knob and then sliding both feet across the dash to get out. During this effort my neighbor arrived and watched my escape, thank heavens he didn’t think to video me doing this! Then he dug my car out of the snow bank and I went on my way, later returning, mission accomplished!  I parked in the lot across the street when I got home, to avoid getting stuck again, as I had the snowstorm before. I called my plowing buddy and he came to finish clearing the rest of the alley and a bit more, just for good measure. Now the sun is shining, and all is right with my world.

Thanks to a plowed alley, I was able to get to a belated Delta Rho Chapter Birthday dinner and spend some socially distanced, time with my chapter sisters. There’s nothing better than sharing food, drink and fun with sorority sisters!!!

Aaaah, wintertime in the Midwest.  I cannot wait for March 20th and the beginning of Spring!!

Sister to Sister…..