Overwhelmed in the New Year? Donna Collins-International Counselor

Overwhelmed in the New Year? Take a Break!
At this time of year, thanks to holiday weekends in January and February, many of my Sisters and I have a little time to relax, linger over beverages of choice, and read! It was wonderful. My 2018 started with several new books: When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing by Daniel H. Pink; Women & Power: A Manifesto by Mary Beard; and Obama: An Intimate Portrait by photographer Pete Souza.
These recently released books offer many personal and professional insights. For me, the opportunity to see the world through each author’s research, study, experience, and opinions opened my mind and heart up to possibilities – what we might do, what we will never do, and what we must do! All three books are relevant to conversations happening around the water cooler or dinner table, but I particularly want to highlight Pink’s book When.
Robert Frost wrote, “The afternoon knows what the morning never suspected.” So true—and yet we routinely ignore new opportunities under the guise of being busy. When speaks right to this point and can help each of us stay focused on the self-care necessary to ensure our success in 2018.
Pink talks about “the power of restorative breaks.” If you’re like me, you have a regularly updated to-do list. Pink suggests creating a complementary “break list.”
At first glance, this seemed slacker-like to me. Who plans to take breaks and do less work in an already too long day—especially in the arts?
When suggests differently. Might we work more efficiently if we take some measures to restore our health and focus? He believes we should take three breaks a day, following a prescribed method.
Your break list should have three columns: time, duration, and what you’re going to do. Pink then offers a menu of breaks: Micro, Moving, Nature, Social, and Mental Gear Shifting. Each has some redeeming qualities due to its duration, ease, or our own level of comfort. In short:
• The micro-break is easy to do right at your desk—taking a moment to rest your eyes, hydrate with water, and stretch. (If you have a stand-up desk, this break is even easier to accommodate amid your busy day!)
• The moving break urges us to do just that—move! Take a walk, do some basic yoga at your desk, or venture out on a “group break” with your co-workers to plank or power walk together.
• The nature break encourages us to breathe fresh air, walk, or just find a place to sit quietly taking in the world around us. Pink says that if you can’t go outside (like those of us in Ohio suffering through a cold, snowy January!), then pretend you’re outside – viewing the world around you outside a nearby window.
• The social break is likely the easiest for all of us in the arts. We know the power of conversation and just catching up – we call it networking and it can be done at the OAC’s Riffe Gallery or a coffee shop!
• My friends who are yoga lovers will most certainly love the mental gear shifting break that asks us to reserve time to meditate, practice controlled breathing, and lighten up with some music or a podcast.
Let’s imagine how these breaks have the power to add significance to our lives!
Until next time,

Note: This BUDDIE Blog Post was taken from my executive director article found in the Ohio Arts Council E-News, January, 2018.

From Debbie Henize-International Historian

Do you like winter? Some love it. Some hate it. For those of you who don’t remember, I live in southern Ohio. For the past several years we have not had any significant snow fall or severe weather. This year we are not getting a great deal of snow but we are getting some pretty cold temperatures. The odd thing is that in January we had record highs and record lows in the same week. My husband is a school bus driver. I don’t mind telling you that I am so jealous. As a write this late at night, my husband who usually goes to bed at 8:00 pm comes out of the bedroom and sits down to watch tv. I ask him what is wrong. He says no school. I spent the whole day cleaning while he rested in his chair and now I have to go to work and he gets another day off. I must not be living right!! I guess it will all get even when I leave him for 4 weekends from late January through March to visit with all of you. See many of you in the coming weeks.
Debbie Henize

My Virtual Chapter Story-April DiGenova

Greetings Sisters,
I’ve been asked to share my “virtual” membership story.  Sorority for me began with an internet search.  I was looking for friendship so I googled friendship organizations.  You see I’m relatively new to the Saint Petersburg area of Florida.  (My friends know I’m a proud Hoosier from northern Indiana.)  Yes, I’ve made friends at work but those friendships seem to stay at work.  SPG came up as a result of my internet search, though the website information then was quite limited.  My next step forever changed my life.  I went on Facebook and began messaging with Nancy Hargiss, who then forwarded my information to Lou Young.  This is when things started to get exciting!  Lou invite me to my first sorority social.  We iced cookies or cupcakes (I can’t remember which) for veterans.  It was so much fun working together to benefit those who’ve served our nation.  And I felt truly welcomed into the group.  My experience was so great that I knew right away that I wanted to join that circle of friends.  However, reality soon kicked in.  My amazing sisters of Xi Theta Chapter are well over an hours drive away.  My crazy work schedule didn’t allow me the time to participate.  I felt like I was letting everyone down  😕.  I’d even considered withdrawing my membership.  During my Chapter’s annual power meeting, I mentioned how I miss out on monthly meetings because of my work hours and distance.  We decided to give FaceTime (Apple’s version of Skype) a try and it worked!  Since then attending meetings virtually has been successful.  So successful that I believe virtual membership could be a solution to attend sorority meetings for many women.  Technology could be a means to stay connected with sisters separated from their Chapter by miles, health issues, bad weather, lack of transportation, etc.  After all, virtual members are really just like other active members except we attend meetings using a smart phone, tablet, or computer.  There are now three virtual members of Xi Theta Chapter.  Virtual members are an important part of my plan of start a new traditional Chapter in my community.  I happily continue to search for friendships to build my SPG circle of friends.

With love in SPG,
April DiGenova
Virtual Chapter Committee

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!