SPRING IS HERE! by INTERNATIONAL VICE PRESIDENT, DEB JURACICH

I get so excited when the first seed catalog arrives in the mail! My first catalog arrived in January and the planning for the gardens begins immediately. Dreaming of April weather, I flip through the catalog and ear-mark my favorite new items to add to one of my many flower and vegetable gardens. Each year, I include the go-to plants like geraniums, marigolds (keeps the bunnies out of the garden), tomatoes, sweet potatoes, and zucchini. I like to try something new each year. Pie pumpkins, celery, and kohlrabi have been proven winners. This year I am going to add some new perennials. I love coneflowers and there are many new bright and vibrant colors. I may try Purplesnax hybrid carrots, they are orange in the middle and purple on the outside. These unique carrots are sweet and crunchy and nutrient packed!
Plants also invoke memories. Of course, the violet reminds us of our beloved sorority, Sigma Phi Gamma. Geraniums remind me of my Dad, he loved geraniums and the red ones were his favorite! Tomatoes remind me of BLT sandwiches and thunderstorms on those steamy hot summer evenings.
Let the digging begin!  What are your favorite seeds to plant in the spring?

MORE NEWS FROM GAMMA PROVINCE, NU TAU by STEPHANIE BRANCH

Nu Tau, (Cincinnati) shows Friendship by working TOGETHER for the common goal. We show Community service by working with a local church youth group on service projects and Ways-n-Means projects, so both organizations can make a difference in their communities. We showed Service by providing a Breakfast with Santa Claus for the local children and their families and by providing handmade blankets and volunteering at the local pregnancy center.

RULES FOR WORKING OUTSIDE IN THE WINTER MONTHS by LINDA BULLINGTON, INTERNATIONAL HISTORIAN

Groundhog Day has come and gone, the prediction was six more weeks of winter…but here in the PNW we have had a few days of sunny, blue skies and temps in the high 50’s – low 60’s! Wouldn’t it be fantastic if that groundhog were wrong?! I heard the groundhog is only accurate 18% of the time!

After all of the snow, ice, and rain we’ve had recently, sunny blue skies are definitely welcome! I got out and did a little tidying up around the yard. While doing so, I was reminded of a few guidelines to follow to be successful n accomplishing outdoor tasks in a timely and easy way:

1. Put your tools away ready to use the next time they’re needed, that means cleaned, sharpened, and oiled if needed.
2. Dress in layers, you need enough on to be warm and dry but then as you work you need to be able to take a layer or two off if needed, to prevent overheating.
3. Take on one chore at a time so that you can successfully complete it before moving on to another chore. You never know how long the weather will co-operate and allow you to work outside in the winter.
4. Stretch before and after working outside to prevent kinks and sore muscles.
5. Stay hydrated.
6. Once you’ve accomplished your chore, don’t forget to stand back and appreciate your efforts!

Working outside is a nice break from the extended amount of time usually spent indoors during the winter. Breathe in the fresh air and enjoy the warmth of the sun!

GARDEN PARTY by INTERNATIONAL EDITOR, LINDY HEATH

The last weekend in January was the Omega Province meeting and the theme was Omega’s Garden. When I first heard what the hostess Chapter was planning, all I could think of was Ricky Nelson’s song, “Went to a Garden Party.” But Ricky’s song is really a sad song. He sings about going to a garden party and everybody was there but they all wanted him to sing his songs from the past.

I found myself comparing the differences between his song and the music that was all through the air the whole weekend of the Omega Province gathering. Not a real song or real music but still that feeling of joy from a happy song of friendship. Hugs were everywhere! Laughs and kindly kidding each other over how the violets that we had hoped would be blue in the paint party but somehow looked more like plaid. Mine, well I played it safe, I did them in yellow. My grandmother loved yellow violets and I would pick wild ones from the field across the street and take them to her, a tribute to a great lady. The humor our VIO brought to the business meeting, the gatherings in the hotel rooms deciding who was going shopping, who was going to take a nap, who was hunting down the ongoing card game, and who was just going to hang out and play computer games, all had their own song of pleasing themselves, just as Ricky sings, “….if you can’t please everybody, then you got to please yourself.”

Like Ricky too, our Sorority isn’t staying in the past but we are moving forward with the times. Our VIO danced Saturday night, as I understand it something she rarely does, and two women became Sisters and are moving forward in the service of their communities. I look forward to these changes, remembering the wonderful Province meetings from the past but looking forward to next year’s just as much. So while I love Ricky Nelson’s wonderful music and songs from the past, I will look forward to the new artists of today and tomorrow, just like I look forward to watching our Chapters grow and move forward with our Sorority into the future!

THE DIFFERENCE A DAY MAKES! by INTERNATIONAL PRESIDENT, DONNA COLLINS

When I woke up this morning it was sunny and 70 degrees, this evening it is dark at 5:00 PM and 29 degrees. Wow, the difference a plane ride makes. The first Province meeting of the season for me is complete. I had a wonderful time with the Omega Province Sisters and their guests from all over the country in beautiful Riverview, Florida.
Xi Phi hosted their first Province meeting and wow, did they do a great job. Every detail, every single opportunity for love and care was demonstrated. The ladies shared with me how much more closer they had become in the last year as they planned and created. The decorations and printed program were second to none. Saturday night’s entertainment was fabulous. Their time spent together was productive and positive.
Never in my life have I seen so many women dance, and dance, and dance. Most of you know that I’ve always said, “Oh, I don’t dance.” And, that is because I’m not very good at it and I feel so awkward and weird. Well no more, no more can I say it … that Chris Wilkens took me by the hand and said, “Oh, but you can dance.” So we danced, and laughed, and danced some more.
The services performed throughout our time together were beautifully carried out and it was a reminder of how far we’ve come and how much we yet have to do! As you plan to attend the Province meeting in your area of the country – work a little, engage a little, and don’t forget to dance!
Together we are one in Friendship, Service, and Community – Sigma Phi Gamma!
Love in SPG,
Donna