A Momentous Milestone by Linda Garbutt

     As of March 9, 2020, Beryl Humphreys will have been in Sigma Phi Gamma Sorority for 60 years.  What an an accomplishment that is!  We wish to extend congratulations to Beryl from all her SPG Sisters!
     Beryl is a member of Delta Omega Chapter in Windsor, Ontario, Canada.
     She has served her Chapter and Province with professionalism.   She always attends their meetings and functions  with enthusiasm.
     Beryl has attended many Conventions throughout the United States and Canada.  She always greets her Sisters with delight.  She was looking forward to our 100 year anniversary celebration in St. Louis in June.
     Beryl enjoys particularly the role of Treasurer in our Chapter.  It’s a money thing!  She was a paid bookkeeper for her husband’s construction business, until they retired.
     Beryl chooses to be responsible for organizing an annual bus trip to Stratford and has done so for many years.  Participants see a play that is thoughtfully chosen to bring pleasure to all.  Time is given for lunch on our own and to do some fast shopping.  On the way home, we have an elegant dinner at Elmhurst Inn just off Highway 401. Beryl’s organizational skills and friendly manner contributes to the success of this summertime event.  It is her Ways and Means project for our Chapter.
     She has eagerly participated in many activities to raise funds for local women’s charities.  Helping others is a matter of significance for Beryl!
     Beryl is more than a Sister in SPG.  She is a friend to those she has come to know personally.  She shows compassion and joy for their life happenings.
     She is a vibrant conversationalist.  She must have a lot to share about SPG over these past six decades.  Just ask her!
Submitted by Linda Garbutt
Delta Omega Chapter President

A Cup, a Chain and a Statue by Eleanor T. Cheslak

A CUP, A CHAIN AND A STATUE 

            Three words form the circle that is the Sigma Phi Gamma logo.  These words, “Friendship, Community, Service” represent the essence and/or goals of the Sorority as well as the dedication of its members.  Our Pledge and Creed confirm these commitments.

            Further evidence of these intentions is represented by three objects; the loving cup, the chain of friendship and the Buddha statue, found on the crest which was designed by the Founders one hundred years ago.  The loving cup is often used at wedding ceremonies to signify love, togetherness and family.  When repeating our Pledge we say, “I PLEDGE TO PROMOTE FRATERNAL FEELINGS.”

            The second symbol on the crest is the chain of friendship which dates back to 1916 and a cartoon published during the First World War.  The cartoon depicts one nation coming to the defense of another forming a chain.  Thus we say, “I PLEDGE TO DO ALL I CAN TO HELP A SISTER.”

            The third object pictured on the crest is a Buddha statue.  In order to understand the reason for its inclusion, we must answer two questions.  Is the Buddha statue the symbol of Buddhism and is Buddhism a religion?  The answer to the first question is “no”, the symbol most often used is the lotus flower.  However there are several symbols used such as The 8 Spoked Wheel, and Two Golden Fish.  In order to answer the second question, we must go back in history to 500 BC to the first Buddha.  Siddhartha Gautoma was the son of a nobleman in northern India.  He was a philosopher who denied the ancient deist beliefs.  Siddhartha traveled the countryside searching for and contemplating the meaning of life and death—a beginning and an ending.  His thoughts were more closely related to science than religion.  It is said that he reached enlightenment.  Therefore, a Buddha is simply defined as an enlightened person.

            In order to answer the second question, we must look to the definition of religion.  The Merriam Webster dictionary defines it as: “The belief in a god or a group of gods: an organized system of beliefs, ceremonies and rules used to worship a god or group of gods.”  Buddhism does not fit this definition since Buddhists do not look or pray to a god, a belief, or a doctrine.  Instead, it is a system of meditation concerning awareness and meaning of life especially the concepts of generosity and good thoughts and deeds.  These concepts are basic to our fulfillment in life. Generosity is the  basis of compassion and the greatest gift to us is the act of giving itself.

            Ghandi referred to this concept when asked the question, “Why do you serve all these people?”  He answered, “I don’t give to anyone.  I do it all for myself.”

            As a Sorority, we are dedicated to community service and our Creed states, “MY DONIMANT DESIRE IS TO RENDER A SERVICE AS GREAT AS LIES WITHIN MY POWER AND TO RENDER THAT SERVICE TO AS MANY PEOPLE AS POSSIBLE.”

By Eleanor T. Cheslak

Moving Forward by International President Sandy Morris

I hope this letter finds everyone safe and healthy!  As we are all in different parts of the country and in Canada, we face slightly differing situations with staying home, quarantining, being safe and healthy, which is and should be our focus right now.  Things related to that are changing daily, everyone is hoping that Covid-19 is relaxing its grip on us and will allow us to renew our economies.

Your International Council along with the 2020 International Convention Committee is working together.  Knowing that we are living in an uncertain time right now, we are going to have to move on with the planning and hosting of our International Convention.  We have an obligation to the Hotel in St. Louis, Missouri and they are very willing to work with us on having our Convention.  Now, we know there is still a possibility the event will be cancelled due to the State of Missouri continuing its ban on groups larger than 50 from gathering.  It is very clear that this is out of our control and it won’t be decided until much closer to the event.  Lambda Province must move forward to plan the event; they cannot wait.  We are asking you to send in your registrations for International Convention if you think you will plan on attending if the travel bans and group restrictions are relaxed.  Only this way will Lambda Province have a clear picture to move forward in negotiating with the hotel.  Please know your registrations will be refunded if indeed the Convention is cancelled.

The International Council is considering the consequences of cancelling and believe we have the beginning of a good plan in that event.

The ABCs of Quarantining By Beth Beckham, International Organizer

Adventure – Life is an adventure, maybe a little too adventurous for some at this time

Blessing – Use this time to count your blessings, you will discover some you never knew you had

Clean – The dreaded spring cleaning, now a quarantine clean

Donate – After quarantine cleaning, think of all the donations you will have ready when this is all over for those less fortunate

Earth – Show the earth around you some love, plant, weed, mow your grass

Fabulous – Show up every day as your fabulous self, even if it is only to get the mail or take out the trash

Gratitude – There are certainly many we can show our gratitude to during this time, pick someone and show them you appreciate their efforts

Helpful – We can all be helpful to others during this time in some way

Imagine – Together we will get through this and it will end someday, imagine your life as it will be when this is over

Joy – Find joy in all that we do, no matter where we do them, be joyous daily

Kind – Be kind to those we encounter, we do not know what they are personally dealing with and they are providing services for us daily

Lovely – Find the lovely in every day, a flower blooming, a bird calling, a neighbor walking that we greet from afar

Mindfulness – Approach each day with a mindfulness to us and others

Nourishing – Every day nourish our souls, minds and bodies, it’s important to take care of ALL of ourselves during this stressful time

Obtainable – Know that peace and happiness is obtainable for each and every one of us, these should be daily objectives

Playfulness – Be playful in some way every day, not only can this bring us joy, but it keeps us young

Quirky – (I could have put quarantine, but we have had enough of that!)  A little quirky every day never hurt anyone, it can be fun, try it, you may like it

Relax – We are all in this together, frustration, anxiety will not make it go away any sooner, just relax, we’ll get through this

Smile – What can I say, a smile can make everyone’s day, even your own

Triumph – We will triumph over this current crisis because we are strong and committed

Understanding – Demonstrate understanding of others’ situations, we are here for each other

Valued – Know that every one of you is valued by me and others, make your day brighter by knowing this

Witty – Maybe take up a new hobby, sharing jokes and riddles, just to make someone’s day a little brighter (see Quirky above)

X – Did you know that X. X. in Victorian slang means double-excellent and X. X. X. is treble excellent?  A little X trivia for you today

You bet – Well really, I bet you can achieve greatness in your own way during this time, see what you can achieve

Zest – Whether a zest for life or a zest in the kitchen, live you life with it

I hope you reach out to others during this time to let them know they are not alone.

Stay well my SPG Sisters, Beth Beckham

International Organizer, Xi Theta Chapter, Omega Province, Port Charlotte, FL

Reach Out And Support One Another By Debbie Henize

Hello Sisters and Friends,

What a difference time can make.  60 days ago if I said that you would be out of work, contained to your home and expecting $1200 from the government, many of you would have said I was crazy.  You would have been right.  Unfortunately, that is our new reality.
I wanted to post this article because I want anyone who reads it to know that Sigma Phi Gamma is strong.  We have wonderful people with great hearts.  We can be that light for others.  Let’s use this time to get close to one another.  (Figuratively speaking)  Call on that sister who may be in need of some encouragement and would love to just hear your voice.  My mom is 71 years old and under normal circumstances is self sufficient.  She helps me much more than I help her.  However, she feels helpless and was nearly in tears yesterday when we spoke on the phone.  You see, she is safe and healthy but this is causing her mental stress.  (I can share this because I know she will not read it.  She does not read the blog.) I share this not for pity for my mom but for a wake up call for all of us.  This is a stressful time and we need to stay strong and support each other.
We each have different skills.  I have noticed that some of you are helping by making face masks and many other selfless acts.  Can you share these with people?  Facebook, this blog or your Province publication are great starts?  Also, let’s be creative.  Which is difficult for me.  How can we make someone else feel special and loved?  I get so much satisfaction from my association with sisters across the country and Canada.   I want to share that love with as many as possible.  Also remember that many of our members are not actively engaged on social media so it may take other means to reach them.  Use your God given talents to reach out to a sister who may need you.
Dear sisters you are all on my heart.  I am proud to be a Sigma Phi Gamma and want to let all my sisters know I love them.  Special prayers for each of you as you reach out safely.  Let this chain of friendship into deeper love grow.  I’ll light your candle.  Keep it aglow!!
Love and Prayers
Debbie Henize
Nu Tau Chapter

Connected Through Social Media by Vice President Linda Bullington

I love being a member of Sigma Phi Gamma International Sorority! We are sisters across the US & in Canada too, united in friendship!

We have 3 levels of membership, we’re all in a local Chapter- a group of women who gather in friendship to help in our community.  Next is the Province level- a region of multiple local Chapters & then there’s the International level- sisters in local Chapters, across the US & Canada.

We see local sisters at our monthly meeting, occasional social gatherings, or work parties for community service or fundraising projects. We see our Province sisters at quarterly lunches & our annual regional Province convention. We see our International sisters, at our annual convention. 

If we’re lucky we also see these sisters socially- sharing vacations & travel. We also keep in touch via phone calls, texting, emails & social media. Today, I’m marveling at our social media connections!
I saw a post this evening, made by one of our sisters across the country, she shared that her family had lost a loved one this morning, I sent her, what I hope, was a comforting message, to let her know I wish I could lighten her sorrow.
I made a post- my daughter works in the Emergency Department at a hospital, tonight she’s outside in the triage tent that’s been set up to assess potential patients before they enter the hospital. It’s scary to me, she could come in contact with a Covid-19 contagious person… My sisters post comforting comments & well wishes for my daughters safety- it helps quell my fear.
One sister’s mom lives in a care facility, they had a positive Covid-19 diagnosis in the facility, we posted comments of well wishes for her moms health safety.

Social media not only allows my sisters & I to share our sadness or fears, but also allows us to share our joys & day to day lives. 
A sister went for a 20 mile bike ride, her first ride of the season! 
Another, shared a recipe.
Do you need a laugh, there are plenty of jokes.
There’s lots of sharing of photos-families, celebrations, nature & vacations.
By using social media we stay in touch with our sisters, share in our day to day life no matter how far apart we are & strengthen our bonds of friendship, this sharing makes our sisterhood stronger!
We are always looking for new members, if our sisterhood appeals to you, check out our website for more info & contact us for details on joining.

How To Help If You Sew by Marlyna Croson

Hi Sisters,

I’ll keep it short and sweet.  I know we have all been hearing and reading about the Coronavirus.  I know you are thinking, as am I, on what we can do to help.  Some Chapters and Provinces have probably already come up with amazing ideas-but for those that haven’t and are still looking-I have a fantastic idea!
If you sew; making cotton face masks for children and adults for hospitals, nursing homes, cancer related facilities, etc. is an amazing way to help your community.  The use of fabric face masks is an alternative during a crisis when all other supplies have been exhausted.  We are nearing that point!  Fabric face masks can be sterilized and reused as needed.  Your efforts would not go unnoticed and would potentially help thousands.  Please consider crafting and donating to your local health care facility.
Below are instructions used for creation.
Marlyna Croson
Nu Sigma Chapter
Rho Province

How to make a Face Mask

What you will need

  • Cotton fabric, a pretty print is best.
  • Rope Elastic, beading cord elastic will work (you may also us 1/8” flat elastic)
  • Cut the elastic 7” long and tie a knot at each end (DO NOT knot the ends of the flat)

You can make two sizes:   Adult or Child

  1.   Put right sides of cotton fabric together  (Cut 9″ x 6″ for Adult or 7.5″ x 5″ for Child)
  2. Starting at the center of the bottom edge, sew to the first corner, stop.  Sew the elastic with the edge out into the corner.  A few stitches forward and back will hold this.
  3. Sew to the next corner, stop, and bring the other end of the same elastic to the corner and sew a few stitches forward and back.
  4. Now sew across that top of the mask to the next corner.  Again put an elastic with the edge out.
  5. Sew to the next corner and sew in the other end of the same elastic.
  6. Sew across the bottom leaving about 1.5” to 2” open.  Stop, cut the thread. Turn inside out.
  7. Pin 3 tucks on each side of the mask.  Make sure the tucks are the same direction
  8. Sew around the edge of the mask twice.

It is so easy to make this.

Be sure any fabric design is placed horizontally.

Impact of COVID-19 by International Vice President Linda Bullington

What a crazy time this past month has been!  Who could have imagined the fallout we are going through right now?!   And it’s all caused by a little virus!  Most of our communities have new, sometimes stringent directions in place to get our country through this crisis.  Follow those guidelines to stay healthy and help stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

Recent direct impact to SPG as a sorority was the cancellation of Mu and Alpha’s Province Meetings.  Mu Province is hoping to reschedule at a later date.  Luckily most Province members got their sorority batteries recharged from our weekends of sharing sisterhood before this health scare got so serious.  Your International Council is monitoring conditions and has decided to “watch what happens for a while” before making a decision on St. Louis.  For now, it’s still a go for International 2020, our 100th anniversary as an organization!  Happy Anniversary to us!

What have we learned from this recent health impact?  Not to hoard, not to gather in crowded spaces, to wash our hands often and not to touch our faces.  I hope we have also learned to help those who need help.  Check on the elderly or immune compromised in your life.  Help them out by doing their shopping so they can stay home where they are able to stay away from the unknowing carrier.  Check in on them to be aware of their health.  They will appreciate your concern and if they aren’t a member, it just might be the thing that makes them realize they want to be!

To help in your community, check to see if there is something you can do to help as a volunteer.  This is one of the things we do best as SPG members!

Many places are limited to essential personnel at this time.  If that’s the case in your area, don’t impact conditions by ignoring directions.  If we all have our health and the health of those around us in mind, we will make it to the other side of this crisis.  If you have been told not to go to work, make productive use of your time off: spring clean, read that book you’ve wanted to get to, enjoy the company of your family, play games, watch movies, whatever you enjoy to pass time.

This virus is transmitted by droplet contact-someone coughs or sneezes and you walk into the mist expelled, or, the mist settles on surfaces and you touch the surface then touch your face.  It is suggested to maintain a 6ft space around you when you must be in public areas but best of all avoid being there if possible.  This doesn’t mean you can’t go outside.  Exercise is good for your health.  Take a walk, enjoy the fresh air, birds and scenery in your area.

If you are sick, check with your doctor’s office before going in as there may be a new policy in place to keep you and those around you from potential exposure to the COVID-19 virus.   Wash your hands often using the 20 second washing rule.  Warm water and soap is the best method, or use hand sanitizer when hand washing is not possible.  Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue, toss it afterward and wash your hands after tossing the tissue.  Avoid touching your face and avoid contact with others outside of your immediate household if possible, till this virus is contained.

If you are sick, self isolate, but stay in contact with someone who can monitor your health from a distance in case your health declines further.  If you are healthy, use common sense precautions.  Follow any restrictions placed on your area.  And share our resources fairly so all have a chance to get what they need, to get through this situation.

Sending Cyber hugs, Linda

The Week That Tried My Soul by Pat Herweg

“These are the times that tries men’s souls” said Thomas Paine, December 1776.  Well, our country, our world is back into a situation that tries men’s souls again.

We are strong, we are resilient, we just need a little encouragement and support from each other.  That is why we are a sisterhood.   We are there for each other.  If it is a phone call, a silly picture posted on Facebook, or maybe a card in the mail; we are there for each other.

I have been in Sigma Phi Gamma for 10 years now, it has been the best organization I have ever been associated with as an adult.  It is special to me and I rely on my sisters for support.

Last week was the week that tried my soul.  My husband had a medical emergency.  My sisters got me through the worst, phone calls, prayers and words of encouragement.  Let us be that for each other.  God bless my sisters.

Pat Herweg, Eta Sigma Chapter, Omicron Province, Buffalo New York.

Exercise Your Right To Vote By Linda Bullington, International Vice President

Have you voted yet?  Women fought for you to have the right to vote!  Exercise your right!  If you don’t vote, you don’t have a say in how our country is run and you can’t complain about the people in office.

On voting day in my state of Washington,  I thought about women in politics and the advances we have made through the years.  With SPG’s 100th anniversary approaching, I wonder if there were some significant events from the 1920’s related to women.  1920 was a time of change for our country.  Women were beginning to leave the home and make their mark in the world, but equality between the sexes was a major struggle.

Did you know that in 1920 there were many words to reference a woman?  Broad, tomato, doll, dame, moll, hotsy-totsy and Sheba were used for women seen as objects of pleasure.  A woman of low intelligence was a “Dumb Dora.”  An uptight straitlaced woman was a “Mrs. Grundy.”  When a woman was referred to as “the bees knees,” she was extraordinary.  Which label would fit you?

In 1920 our country had a defacto woman President, Edith Wilson.  Edith served as a buffer between her husband President Woodrow Wilson and his cabinet, following his decline in health from a blood clot which caused paralysis, partial blindness and brain damage.  Edith would guide Woodrow’s hand in signing documents and relay his decisions on topics needing his input for the last year and a half of his term.  Yet still 100 years later there has been no woman President!

On Aug. 18, 1920 women won the right to vote!  We owe our gratitude to the suffragists who championed that right!  Women are starting to run for President but it’s somewhere in the future, because politics is still viewed as a man’s arena.  But women now have a say in how their country is governed.

August 1920 was also the time that our Founders formed Sigma Phi Gamma which is dedicated to friendship, sisterhood and community service.  It’s been 100 years and SPG still provides friendship, sisterhood and community service!  Share our sorority with your family, friends and acquaintances.  Let’s keep our sorority strong by increasing our membership numbers.  Let’s make our next 100 years even better!  Share your “why, when, and who”  and what we do to “Help Keep SPG Glowing by Growing!”

Recognizing One SPG Artist by Linda Bullington

Sigma Phi Gamma is privileged to have an artist in our midst, Carole Causey-Hazelgrove.  Carole is the calligrapher of our official Zeta Scroll, but calligraphy is only one of Carole’s many artistic talents. Carole paints in watercolors, oils and acrylics.  She draws and sketches.  She makes rust paper pieces, paper tole pictures and pen and ink drawings.  She also designs custom jewelry pieces.

How did she get into art?  She took art in High School, then was accepted to the Chicago Art Institute.  Over the summer between her Senior year and fall of college she applied for a job and was hired to work for the The Lima News-an Ohio newspaper.  She worked her way up through various positions, never attending art school.  She studied under various artist along the way through life, acquiring her many artistic talents.  At one time she owned an art gallery and custom framing store, The Art Works Etc., which was a consignment studio for other artists, her own works, personalization pieces for the public and offered art classes for all ages.

Carole has been adding names to our Zeta Scroll for 43 years, having been asked to start the task by International Secretary/Treasurer Doris Griffin!  (Carole says she was 10 when she started keeping the Zeta scroll LOL)

Sadly, Carole added all 5 Life Founders to our Zeta Scroll.  To pay homage to our Founders they are highlighted with a gold star preceding their names.  International Presidents on the list, are highlighted with a black star preceding their names.  Keeping the names of sisters who have passed on the official Zeta Scroll began in 1923.

Carole knows how to pen 5 different styles of calligraphy.  The Zeta Scroll is penned in Olde English.

Your SPG Sisters thank you Carole for your many years of dedicated service volunteering to cover this sad task.

Sister to Sister…..