SPG Sisters @ Sea by Vice President Linda Bullington

Recipe For Fun
Start with 10 SPG Sisters
Add 6 friends and/or family
Choose location: Miami/Cozumel/Key West
Pick date: Jan 4-9
Pick method of transport: car/shuttle/ship
Matching travel shirts and e-BUDDIE?  Check!!
Depart: 7:30am
First stop: Panera for breakfast
Second stop: Parking garage in Miami
Next: Shuttle to the ship!
Clear customs
Board ship!
Daily theme?  Check (lucky 7, hats, ties, glow sticks, flashing glasses)
Door decorations?  Check
Unlimited premium beverage package?  Check
Delicious food?  Check!
Special food requests catered to?  Check (No garlic for Lou Young, no mango or avocado for Crystal Smith)
Desserts-Check (more than a person should eat!)
Funny cruise games?  Check (Beth Beckham won @ not saying yes or no during a very active conversation w/the cruise activity director)
Bingo winner?  Yes ( Me!)
Casino winner(s)?  Yes!  (Della Kochert won more than the cost of her cruise, Carole Causey-Hazelgrove was a winner too!)
Nightly live theater productions?  Check
Silent disco?  Check!  So much fun!!
ABBA party?  Check!
Wine tasting/food pairing class?  Check (Chris Wilkins, Barb Dempsey & others)
An anniversary?  Check!  (Becky & Don Frye)
First time cruiser?  Check!  (Theresa Caterson)
Mayan ruin tour?  Check!
Tequila Factory tour?  Check!
5th Ave shopping tour?  Check (Mexican style)
Hop On/Hop Off Key West Tour?  Check!
Prospective Pledges?  Possibly 2 of the ladies that were friends/family joining in on the fun!
Would I go again?  Yes!
SPG Sisters @ Sea!

As a Reminder – What is a 501(c)(7)? By Mary Ann Tuer, International Secretary/Treasurer

Sigma Phi Gamma International Sorority, Inc. is considered a “social/friendship club” and was organized for pleasure, recreation and other non-profitable purposes by our Founders in 1920.  Generally, social clubs are membership organizations primarily supported by dues, fees, charges or other funds paid by their members.

The main difference between a 501(c)(7) and 501(c)(3) is that any money or goods received from our members or outside sources are NOT tax deductible.  When looking for donations from businesses or other sources, make sure you tell them that we are a (c)7 and NOT (c)3.

Also, I believe there is a misconception about being “exempt”. “Exempt” does not mean that a Chapter or Province does not pay sales taxes.  Sigma Phi Gamma International Sorority, Inc. as a whole is exempt from paying taxes (Federal), but even I pay taxes for everything purchased for the business office.

Did you know that our Bylaws (governing instrument) may not contain a provision that provides for discrimination against any person on the basis of race, color or religion?  I was not aware of this – but fortunately this is not something Sigma Phi Gamma has to worry about since we do not have any of these provisions and we are a “friendship” organization that welcomes those who want to join.

Lastly, any net earnings of this organization may not inure to the benefit of any person (member or their family members) having a personal or private interest in its activities.  This is why none of the monies earned can go directly to a Sister in need.

Remember, before you commit to a function or a meeting place where they are requesting your non-profit status, make sure you tell them we are a 501(c)(7) so there is no confusion at the end of the day.  I have a copy of the IRS letter stating our exempt status in the business office if you ever have to produce it.

Just know I am a phone call away if you ever have any questions.  Mary Ann

New Year’s Thoughts by Sandy Morris, International President

Can you believe it’s that time of year again already?!

If your tendency is to lean towards procrastination, the New Year can either be your best friend or worst enemy.  Like any good friend, the New Year fills us with hope and encouragement.  It reminds us that time is on our side and that we’ve got 365 blank pages ahead of us.  But as time goes on, the New Year can begin to shift from being one of our closest friends to one of our biggest enemies, putting off joining the gym, cooking more at home, getting fit, or being better at meeting commitments and deadlines.

According to a survey of 2000 people, the majority of us are expecting New Year’s to be some sort of magical day where something will finally “click” and we’ll do what we’ve been wanting to do for months.  As awesome as that would be, the reality is, New Year’s or not, we’re going to have to put in the effort to prioritize our goals and then take action.

How about we mix up our own magical formula for curing our procrastination?  That would be nice.  I am a queen of procrastination at times.  I think I inherited it, that must be the cause.

Step 1: Bundle Your Temptations

The first step is to mix up what you love with the what you procrastinate about!  For instance, only watch your favorite tv show while walking on the treadmill, or you could try to only have dessert with sorority events, or only get a pedicure with a friend who might be a prospective member.

Step 2: Use Rewards

The second step is to add in some immediate positive reinforcement for doing the thing you’ve been procrastinating.  For example, if you prepare your lunches and snacks for the work week ahead, allow yourself to watch your favorite Netflix show.  Rewards reinforce behaviors and are ultimately helpful in building habits long-term — figure out a reward for your members who bring in a new pledge to the Chapter.

Step 3: Set Smarter Goals

The third step is to make sure your goals are achievable.  What can often be the trigger for procrastination is feeling overwhelmed from the start of your goal!  And as most of us know, getting started with any goal is usually the toughest part.  A great way to make goals feel less overwhelming is to make them SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Realistic and Time-Bound).  Let’s set small goals and try to accomplish them one at a time.  Make a goal for March, maybe set a plan for a rush party.  Then in October plan a pledge party.  Make it part of your calendar, plan ahead, set a measurable goal and make it realistic for your Chapter.  Embrace it!  Let’s make 2020 the best year yet!

Consider looking at all that Sigma Phi Gamma has survived over the last 100 years.  We can do this!

The Reason for the Season… by Pat Herweg

Now I know why the elves have a whole year to prepare for Santa’s BIG night.  It is exhausting being an elf!

My sorority sisters took on a large undertaking this year.  We provided a little bit of Christmas Cheer for homeless women and their children.  We prepared 62 gift bags for the women and 34 gift bags for the children ages 5 months to 16 years old.  A secret Santa (hopefully a sister soon) made Blankets for all the children adding a wonderful edition to our gift bags.

Last night we delivered the bags, to be given out Christmas morning, and 12 of our sisters added our singing voices to a cafeteria audience of women and children.  All kinds of Christmas songs, goodies and crafts were on the agenda for the night.

The feeling we all experienced was amazing!!!  The Reason for the Season was shining bright on a snowy, dark night in Downtown, Buffalo, New York.

Respectfully submitted,

Pat Herweg (Treasurer), Eta Sigma Chapter, Omicron Province

Mu Eta Chapter’s Christmas Party by Cindy Worley

Mu Eta Chapter (Hays, Kansas)  had their Christmas Exchange Party at the Smoky Hill Country Club on December 3, 2019.  Chapter Sisters (and one guest) were decked out in their fine Christmas attire and the decorations were colorful and festive.  After a short meeting, conversation flowed freely and laughter and smiles were abundant.  Our meals were scrumptiously delicious and we had beautifully decorated cupcakes for dessert.  Everyone was so clever with their exchange gifts, and we all left with a smile on our face, a song in our heart and just a little bounce in our step.  We want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

 

Remembering and Cherishing Our Past So That We Can Build Our Future By Barbara Spreen, International Historian

Thanksgiving was just a few days ago and I am sure that most of us spent the day with our families or friends cherishing all the times, good and bad, that we have shared and being grateful that we had each other for love and support.  I too spent the day with family, my sister, Jackie.  We traveled to North Dakota for the funeral, the following day, of a beloved uncle.  He and our aunt and their family shared their home and lives with my family for one week every summer when we took our family vacation at home in North Dakota, spending one week with my mother’s family and one week with my father’s family.  That bond grew so strong and deep that I have continued to journey to North Dakota, almost yearly, from my home in Indiana.

I don’t tell you this story to receive sympathy from you for my uncle’s passing but to make you all realize that this too is the foundation of Sigma Phi Gamma Sorority.  We are sisters who share our lives, good and bad, who are always there for each other and that bond grows stronger and deeper with each passing year.  How encouraged I feel, as International Historian, that just as we try to keep alive the memories of our personal families with connections, like with my uncle and his family, but we also want to keep that bond alive with our Sigma Phi Gamma sisters.

With the celebration of our 100th anniversary this next year, let us each renew our commitment to Sigma Phi Gamma and be that family that thrives and grows in love and friendship, who keeps all those cherished moments alive and wants to ever expand our family so that more women may share this great love that we now hold dearly. In today’s society, we are a lucky group, with so many people searching for love and friendship, let us be open to expanding our hearts and minds to reach as many women as we can to join our ranks and change not just ourselves and Sigma Phi Gamma but these women’s lives and more lives through our continued service to our communities.  May the Holiday Season bring peace to your hearts and lives and blessings to all we touch with our love.

Things I Love by Robin Pelton, International Counselor

I have a shirt that I really like.  On the front of it is the saying “Say YES to things you love.”  I was wearing it the other day and a stranger who was walking by said, “I like your shirt.”  I glanced down at the front of my shirt (like we all do when we get a compliment and forgot what we’re wearing…) and it got me thinking…

What DO I love that I say YES to?  So I decided to list them, in no particular order:

God

Spending time with my husband, my enormous and awesome family, and my wonderful friends

Sigma Phi Gamma – and all of the Sisters that are attached to our organization

Volunteering in my community

Flowers

Sunsets

The beach

Hiking

Reading a good book

Rich, hot coffee in the morning

Coconut

Pizza

Laughing

Dancing

Singing

New clothes, shoes, purses, etc., etc.

Travel

Board games

Puzzle games on the computer

Clean sheets

Baby snuggles

Sunshine and warm days

A good whiskey (tee-hee!)

There are many more things I love, but I figured this is a glimpse of my favorites for you.  What do YOU love?  I hope you say YES to them all the time!

A Funny Story shared by International Counselor Robin Pelton

Hi Ladies!  Just wanted to share a cute short story that I read on a website called Surfer Sam Online.  It is under “Funny Stories” (imagine that!).  I thought we’d all get a giggle out of it, no matter what our age.  Enjoy!

Well, A group of 15-year-old girlfriends discussed where to meet for dinner.  Finally, they agreed to meet at the Dairy Queen next to the Ocean View Restaurant because they had only $6.00 among them and Jimmy Johnson, the cute boy in Social Studies, lived on that street.

At their reunion 10 years later, the group of 25-year-old girlfriends discussed where to meet for dinner.  Finally, they agreed to meet at the Ocean View Restaurant because the drinks were cheap, the restaurant offered free snacks, the band was good, there was no cover charge, and there were lots of cute guys.

At their reunion 10 years later, the group of 35-year-old girlfriends discussed where to meet for dinner.  Finally, they agreed to meet at the Ocean View Restaurant because the atmosphere was good, it was right near the gym and, if they went late enough, there wouldn’t be too many whiny little kids.

At their reunion 10 years later, the group of 45-year-old girlfriends discussed where to meet for dinner.  Finally, they agreed to meet at the Ocean View Restaurant because the martinis were big and the waiters were younger.

10 years later, the group of 55-year-old girlfriends discussed where to meet for dinner.  Finally, they agreed to meet at the Ocean View Restaurant because the prices were reasonable, the wine list was good, the restaurant had windows that opened (in case of a hot flashes), and fish is good for cholesterol.

10 years later, the group of 65-year-old girlfriends discussed where to meet for dinner.  Finally, they agreed to meet at the Ocean View Restaurant because the lighting was good and the restaurant had an early bird special.

10 years later, the group of 75-year-old girlfriends discussed where to meet for dinner.  Finally, they agreed to meet at the Ocean View Restaurant because the food was not too spicy and the restaurant was handicapped-accessible.

10 years later, the group of 85-years-old girlfriends discussed where to meet for dinner.  Finally, they agreed to meet at the Ocean View Restaurant because they had never been there before.

My Sigma Phi Gamma Adventure, by Colleen Criswell

I joined Sigma Phi Gamma a year ago.  I was introduced to the sorority a few years back when Mary Freeman invited me to go on a trip to Florida with her to attend Omega Province weekend.  The energetic women of Omega were amazing!  I was in awe of it all and everyone I met told me “This time next year you will be a member!”  I have to admit I wasn’t quite sure as I have never been part of a group like that.  I had been a stay at home mom for so long that I had forgotten what it was like to interact with adults!  On the flight home to Indiana I thought about it and talked with Mary about it and talked with my husband about it and talked with my daughter about it and finally called Mary and said “I think I want to check this out.” She introduced me to a few people and I started going with her to socials and meeting the Theta Pi ladies and just immediately felt like I was home.  I was so excited the next year when Mary and I went back to Omega Province and showed off my new pledge pin!  Granted, since I didn’t know the password yet, instead of whispering it I ended up kissing the Marshal on the cheek, which made her laugh and say “You are new at this aren’t you!”

Through my pledging I was excited to become more involved with sorority.  I loved meeting all my new sisters and going out and doing service projects; to the point where I started volunteering on my own at the retirement center where my mother lives.  I am actually out of the house, not only making a difference, but having the time of my life!

Through going to Omega Province and doing things with my Lambda sisters; this year when I went to my very first International Convention, I didn’t feel like I was a small fish in a big pond.  I saw so many faces I already knew, they introduced me to more of my sisters and life long friends!  I felt like I was a part of everything from the get go!  It was inspiring and exciting.  I can be myself, even making a delayed entrance to get my first timer certificate!  The fact I know all the International Officers already through going to Lambda and Omega events was just amazing to me!

When I first joined I was under the impression that it was only two days a month and a service project here and there, but it ISN’T just that!  SPG goes further than that, if you want it to!  I love getting the random call saying “Hey, interested in going to an Escape Room this weekend?”  Or once a month a group of us gets together for lunch with sisters from other Chapters.

The other day a few of my Theta Pi sisters and I went on an Urban Adventure through a place called Wacky Walks.  If any of you are in areas that have these available, I highly recommend it!  It is a lot of walking, 4 miles in total, so make sure you wear comfortable shoes! Three of my sisters and one of their daughters and myself set out on an adventure around downtown Indianapolis.  We had to find landmarks and use clues to figure out puzzles and riddles.  All we had was the app on a phone and our observation skills.  We also got to know each other better.  These little things make us stronger in the friendship aspect of our sisterhood.  Here is a photo of Barb Miller-Neff, Joyce Zach, Gail Ridder and Colleen Criswell at the end of our Urban Adventure.

With Love,

Colleen M. Criswell

The Quilt, by Marlyna Croson

     My Godmother and SPG sister, Diane Maraist, made a gorgeous quilt for a Nu Sigma Chapter ways and means project.  Little did we know at the time of creation that the quilt was dedicated to my mother, Pat Croson, who passed away in May 2018.  Once we found out, my sister Juli and I mentioned to our dad, Tommy Croson, that godmother had made a quilt and it was “pieced together with love” for mom.  My dad’s immediate response was “Can I buy tickets!?”  We explained to dad that it was a ways and means project, so the probability of him actually wining the quilt was low.  He assured us he understood…but for the next 3 months all we heard was “Have you given away the quilt yet??”  I tried to prepare him for disappointment by telling him I was sure godmother could make him another quilt should he not win, and his response being “But it’s not the original.  I want to win the original!”  He wanted this quilt so badly; a quilt he had not even seen.  Juli and I even joked about “rigging the system” so we could bring it home to him. 
     Alas, the time had come to pick a winner.  Nu Sigma had sold 330 tickets!  We were ecstatic with the enthusiasm generated by the quilt; but my heart was definitely heavy as I knew the chance of my dad’s ticket actually being chosen was slim.  I mentally prepared myself, shook the box and handed it over for one of our SPG sisters to pick a ticket.  The winning ticket was pulled and handed to me.  I looked on the back to read the name and I literally could not speak.  I gazed at my sister with complete disbelief as the name on the back was our dad’s! 
     Anyway, here is a photo of dad, moments after unwrapping the quilt and seeing it for the first time. 
It was unbelievably special.  I’m not sure I’ll ever get dad to admit he loves Sorority about as much as mom did, but his smile in this photo sure does prove it.


Marlyna Croson

Our Founders-A Picture In Time, by International President Sandy Morris

Lambda Province Sisters have been going through our history books in preparation for our 100year Celebration.  I don’t remember if I ever sat down and just took my time to really look at each picture.  To remember the beautiful ladies in each picture.  The pleasure in just taking it page by page and looking at it without distraction is wonderful.  Much different than standing at a table and quickly looking at them while at a meeting.  I would recommend everyone sit down and take some time with a  history book and just enjoy looking and remembering.

What can I say about this picture of Edith, Irene, Violet, Ferne and Phyllis?

WOW was my first thought when I saw it in my Chapter’s history book; that’s all five of the Founders!  We have no idea who took that picture that was taken back in 1977.  Convention that year was held in Los Angeles, California.  Our lovely Founders were all together.  What a treat for the members who were there and for the Founders who were honored by the membership.  It is my hope that all of us believe in Sigma Phi Gamma and are working to keep it alive just as our Founders did.  It is our responsibility to grow our membership.

 

Sister to Sister…..