A Request From Renee Chenault, International Organizer

I want to ask each of you a favor for the coming year 2018. We have so many people who don’t have enough money to buy many of the necessities they need in life. So whenever you can spare some extra money while shopping at the grocery, drug store, a Wal-Mart, etc. Please purchase things to donate to your local food panty where you live. Some very important items that can’t be bought with money if a person is on assistance or without work are: bath soap, toothpaste, toothbrushes, shampoo, deodorant, toilet paper, dish soap, sanitary pads, and tampons as well as any other personal items like shaving cream, disposable razors for men and women. You can imagine if you couldn’t have these things in your home how embarrassing it could be for you and your family members to not be clean and smell fresh when you go to work, or your kids go to school. Most food pantry’s welcome these items to be able to give them out. Many also will take good, clean clothing, coats and shoes to make available to those who come in for food. Even clean towels and wash cloths and bedding or blankets. By being kind and thoughtful to all of mankind, no matter what their circumstances, should give you each peace of mind that you have made a difference in the lives’ of those in your community not as blessed as you and your family are. So, I challenge you each to do this at least once a month in 2018. I can’t imagine not being able to feed my family and see that they have the basics needed to be clean and feel good about themselves. Please, accept my challenge and you will be blessed abundantly in ways you never thought possible in the coming year! God bless each of you!
PS – Do this in the name of Sigma Phi Gamma, and you can count this as hours for shopping, and the amount you spend as Intangibles on your Chapter’s Service Report and Income & Expense Report for 2018!

Technology Changes Everything – Cindy Stath

Many of you know that I have transferred my membership from one Chapter to another several times. Life has a tendency to bring about change such as a new job, moving, etc., that prompts a transfer to a Chapter closer geographically. Way back, when I moved from Theta Pi Chapter, Indianapolis to Muncie, IN, I had no way to participate in Chapter meetings while I was in transition to Alpha Chapter, Hartford City IN. Years later, when I moved from Lambda Phi Chapter, Bloomington IN to Dyer IN, my Chapter was in the process of hosting Lambda Province Meeting. When I announced my new job and impending move, the President’s first comment was “you ARE NOT going to transfer until after Province!” So, I attended Lambda Phi meetings by phone. I would call one of the members, answer roll call, they would pass the phone around for everyone to say “HI” and update me on the Province meeting plans. That continued until after the Province meeting, and I located Alpha Phi Chapter in Chicago, IL.
A couple years ago, to keep my mom, Ruth Stath, more active, I transferred to Alpha Delta Chapter in Lafayette, IN. It is a 2-hour drive for me to Lafayette and a one-hour time difference, so attending monthly business meetings and socials are challenging! However, with today’s technology and the “magic” features of smart phones, I attend meetings via FaceTime. I can usually see everyone, they can see me, and I can hear the entire business meeting. Mother Nature at times has kept my mom and I from attending some of the special parties, but we recently had a wonderful time at the annual Christmas Tea.
Because of my experiences, I am thrilled to be a member of the Virtual Chapter Committee. We are continuing the work of last year’s Study Group and are exploring new and different ways to use the technology available to us today to expand Sigma Phi Gamma. I predict that in the very near future, miles may no longer be a deterrent for a new member. Our hope is that participation in a virtual Chapter may serve as an incubator, giving interested women a chance to learn more about us and inspire them to find enough friends to start a traditional Chapter. It may also provide a way for members who are not physically able to attend meetings to stay connected.
I bet there are other members using technology in new and different ways to participate in SPG. The Virtual Chapter Committee would like to hear from you! Please share with us how your Chapter is embracing technology to keep members engaged.
Love to all,
Cindy Stath

Happy New Year! – Deb Juracich, International President

Happy New Year!

The holiday season is almost over and amidst the hustle and bustle your International Council and Committees are busy tending to the business side of SPG. If you have not completed the SPG Member Survey sent to you by email in early December, please take the time to do so. We want to hear from you! Your input is a gift! In early 2018, the beginning of a new calendar year, the International Council will review the survey results and begin developing strategies for the future. We’ll be sharing information with you too! Look for more information in our letters, planning, and actions!
As we ring in the new year, we shift our focus to new beginnings. New year resolutions are being made as we try to better ourselves. Resolutions always seem to provide too much pressure for me, so I have not made any for a few years. Instead, I set goals. It’s all about perception, right? Goals seem more doable to me! I like setting a goal, planning the steps to get it done, and then doing it!
When I look back on 2017, I have journeyed down a couple of different paths that I thought were unobtainable. Why, you may ask? Like most people, the answer was “fear!” As you know, fear is debilitating! I made up my mind that I was not going to let “fear” get in the way of my hopes and dreams – it was the best decision ever! I have experienced and done things I never would have done before, one of which was running for International President! What is there to fear … each SPG Sister is lovely and does her best to be supportive and caring!
The other path I took on my journey in 2017 was to commit to the Boy Scout program for adult leaders. I am honored to report that I received my Boy Scout Wood Badge Beads a few weeks ago. Fear of doing something new and sleeping in the woods all by myself …. gone!
It has been an adventure (fun, thrilling, humbling) tackling some of my fears with plans to tackle more in 2018! Try it! Make a private note (on paper) to yourself about something you fear. Now, what goals can you set to overcome that fear. Do it. Just do it. Every aspect of the process brings a feeling of success and oh, how, gratifying!
From my home to yours, I’m sending my best wishes to you for a Happy New Year filled with laughter, love, friendship, and service!

Happy New Year

Happy New Year!
As we ring in a new year it is a time to think about fresh starts! Sometimes we really want to work hard on something important – improved health, learning a new skill, or preparing our homes to be safer and more organized. We also have some superficial promises we make, knowing that they sound good but aren’t practical or promising – I’ll let you make your own list on this one!
For sure we want to be better people – engaging in meaningful relationships, helping others in our communities, volunteering with special projects, and the list goes on. I’ve been thinking about what I can do to be a better member of Sigma Phi Gamma – here’s my list:
1. I can encourage ladies I know to become members of SPG. This will only happen if I invite them to events, meetings, parties, and opportunities to volunteer.
2. I will serve when asked. A Sister of ours once said to me, “I always say, ‘yes,’ to a Sister who needs my help.” This is an attitude worth duplicating.
3. I must attend to each role I have as a leader (chair, member, supporter). Read the rules, follow the timelines, engage, and communicate with all involved.
So as we once again begin a new year, let’s affirm our roles and responsibilities to our beloved Sigma Phi Gamma International Sorority! Happy New Year!
Much love to all,
Donna Collins
International Counselor

Giving by Robin Pelton – International Vice President

My husband and I recently participated in a “Toy Run” organized by our local Harley Davidson dealership. Hundreds of motorcyclists bring one toy per rider and ride from Chico by back roads up to the small town of Magalia and end up at a church. We had police escorts stopping traffic, people standing on the side of the road waving, and at the end we had a BBQ lunch and homemade desserts prepared and served by the church congregation. The church altar and beyond was filled with hundreds of toys for local children whose parents are struggling to make ends meet.
The thing that struck me was a friend’s perspective of this event. He was in awe of the generosity and love that was shown that day. The sight of so many toys brought by so many different people from so many different backgrounds to be given to kids they didn’t even know was overwhelming to him. He was very emotional about it.
As I listened to him express his feelings, I was reminded of our Sorority. I felt fortunate to understand what he was talking about, but also to know that I have experienced it many times. The spirit of giving in our organization is alive and well and that is one of the things I love about Sigma Phi Gamma. Giving back to our communities and helping those that need it is one of the best things we do. It is one of the reasons why I joined and a big part of why I am in Leadership and want to see our Sorority grow and thrive.
I know that this is how all of my Sisters feel as well, and I am truly thankful for that. We ALL are a part of a wonderful group, aren’t we?

Just a Note from your Historian

Have you ever felt like nothing you do is right? Well I have felt that way lately. My daughter is struggling in school, my co-worker left without notice leaving me more work than I can handle, and I have more deadlines on my calendar than I have dates. I am a little, no a lot overwhelmed. Have you ever felt that way?
I write this post not for sympathy but hopefully to show someone else that they are not alone. A note from a sister or encouraging words goes a long way. Many of my Gamma province sisters have dropped me notes or emails which encouraged me. Also some new friends from across the country have sent very nice emails as well. Thank you all for your friendship and patience as I adjust to my responsibilities as your Historian.
We can be that special person who encourages someone else. We are here to support those in need but never forget that person may be your chapter sister.

Love to you all,
Debbie Henize

December 2017 – Donna Collins International Counselor

As part of my quest to attend to my own needs and growth I’ve been reading a couple of new books and lots of articles about deep and meaningful relationships. The book I’m reading now is by Deborah Tannen, You’re the Only One I Can Tell. She’s written many books including: You Were Always Mom’s Favorite!, You’re Wearing That! Understanding Mothers and Daughters; The Argument Culture: Stopping America’s War of Words; and several more.
In You’re the Only One I Can Tell there are a couple of sub-chapters that are quite interesting: FOBLO: Fear Of Being Left Out; FOMO: Fear Of Missing Out; and FOGKO: Fear of Getting Kicked Out. Who knew there were such fears and that they have their own acronyms.
As a Sigma Phi Gamma Sister I was instantly relieved that FOBLO and FOGKO are not a part of our vocabulary! And, as for FOMO – we are guilty of this – and that’s why we never want to miss a Chapter or Province meeting or International Convention, but not for the reasons someone outside sorority would imagine. We have FOMO because we know not being present means we’re missing out on fun, laughter, stories, service, and fellowship.
This month we’ll celebrate with our Sisters by giving gifts, sharing a meal, and giving to others – we won’t miss out! In 2018 we’ll participate in Chapter meetings, service, and planning – we won’t miss out! In the first few months of the year we will participate in our Province meeting conducting business, learning new things, having healthy discussions, and there will be lots of fellowship – we won’t miss out.
Next summer we’ll travel to Portland, Oregon for the annual International Convention where we’ll conduct business (updates, financial reports, bylaw deliberations, election of officers, and discussions and learning opportunities), sale and buy sorority related materials at the SPG Market Place, visit new destinations through the planned tours, and celebrate the successes of Sisters attending their first convention, and applauding those Sisters earning their 25/50/75 year member recognitions! We won’t miss out!
I’m so glad that I belong to an organization that doesn’t have to worry about some of the fears that exist out in the world. We are, after all, one in Friendship, Service, and Community – Sigma Phi Gamma!

Holiday Memories from Sandy Morris – International Editor

It’s funny the things you look back on now as an adult and see them differently than you did as a child.  I have many memories of my Dad, but there are some that stand out more than others. He was a good Dad, not perfect, few of us are. He loved to teach us things, which as kid I didn’t really “get.”  However, my Mom was the one who had a plan, she would stay home and clean house and have time to herself while Dad would take all of us kids out on a Saturday morning and we would run his “errands” with him.  His errands usually including stopping by the pet store to look at the animals. He would take us to the stamp store to look at and maybe purchase some old stamps for his collection. On nice days we would go to the train museum in Louisville and learn about the trains, and get to climb on them and explore the train cars. And a Saturday wouldn’t be complete without stopping by and visiting with his Dad, our Grandpa. Now I see how much he taught me and I didn’t even know it!
On occasion my Dad would decide to cook. He had a few “specialties,” that we enjoyed. The best thing he made was his Chili. But during the Holidays he would make these cookies. I have no idea what the recipe is or really what they are called, but if you mention those” little yellow cookies with the brown edges,” every one of us will know immediately what you are talking about. With five kids the best thing about that recipe is that it made a lot of cookies! Another memory I have is the time he and mom decided to make donuts. I think they made donuts ALL day long, talk about a lot of donuts! They just kept coming, it was funny to watch, I remember my parents laughing at all the donuts.
In later years he continued his culinary attempts with many different recipes, not the everyday meals, but the special treats that would give him a challenge. Always learning! A good example!

CHAPTER BYLAW REVISIONS – Robin Pelton, International Vice President

Hello Sisters! I am working on reviewing and approving your proposed Chapter bylaw revisions that are due to me by December 1. So far I am impressed at the timeliness and the dedication to following instructions that I am seeing. Great job!
After looking at quite a few (though not all) Chapters’ bylaws, I did notice that many of you have a section regarding proposed Bylaw changes being submitted on the Annual Bylaw Report Form. Since we are no longer using this form, you will need to revise your Chapter bylaws to reflect this. However, it is not an urgent change, and I do understand that.
This is just a quick “head’s up” that you will need to change this next year when ALL Chapters review and resubmit complete Chapter bylaws.
Here’s hoping your Holidays are Blessed!!

My Favorite Thing by Deb Jurachich – International President

This time of year, my favorite thing to do is baking. I have been baking since I was younger. My Mom was a master at candy making and fudge! One of my best friends and I would do the holiday cookie baking. We had so much fun and boy did we make a mess! Through 4-H and my Home Economics classes in high school, I learned to add other specialties to the baking season, such as sweet yeast breads, pumpkin rolls, and cream puffs!
Once I became a Home Economics (now Family and Consumer Sciences) teacher myself, I had the opportunity to share my love of baking with my students. At the request of one of my principals, we made pumpkin pies each fall from fresh pumpkins. He was always given the first slice! Parents would always thank me for teaching their children the art of pie making as they contributed to the Thanksgiving meal. My husband and son love my pumpkin pie and have become spoiled as they only like pumpkin pie made with fresh pumpkin.
Over the years, I have begun to alter recipes and have enjoyed the challenge of perfecting some of my baking recipes. Last week, I spent two days testing new recipes and altering them. I’ve now added some new favorites to the cookie baking season. The search is on for more recipes to try!
Families have cookie recipes that are attached with memories, passed down from generations and so forth. Below is my favorite sugar cutout recipe. I would love to hear about your favorite cookie recipes.
Perfect Cookie Cutter Cookies with Frosting

3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

Cream together butter and sugar until smooth. Add egg and extract, beating well. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt, then add to the butter/sugar mixture, beating well. Gather dough in hands and kneed to form a ball, the cover and chill for 1 hour. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before rolling out on a lightly floured surface to 1/4 inch thickness. Preheat oven to 350. Cut out cookies and place 1 inch apart on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Bake 6-8 minutes. Let stand on baking sheet for 5 minutes, and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Decorate with frosting.


3 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 1/4 cups powdered sugar
6 Tablespoons whipping cream
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
food coloring (optional)

Beat butter until creamy. Add sugar alternatively with cream until well blended. Stir in vanilla. Add food coloring if desired. Icing will be very thick.

Yields: 2 1/2 dozen cookies and 2 cups of frosting