Little Sisters Thinking About Sigma Phi Gamma – Donna Collins International Counselor

This month I was invited to dinner with the Sisters of Nu Tau Chapter in Cincinnati, Ohio. It was their annual Mother/Daughter Dinner. In attendance were Chapter members (mothers/daughters/mothers-in-laws), guests (former members and potential members), and the Gamma Province Officers.
It was a great little restaurant with a fabulous menu. We were at a long table and there was lots of conversation, storytelling, and joy. Two of the daughters at the table were Makayla and Allison both elementary aged and eager to be part of the fun. There were moments to ask the girls about school, their pets, favorite colors, and so on. And, Makayla was happy to positively respond to my request that she read a page out of her book: Leif the Luck. She did a great job!
My final question to Allison and Makayla was, “When you grow up are you going to be a Sigma Phi Gamma girl?”

Allison, Donna, Makayla

Makayla said, “No.” I was surprised since her Mother is a 25-year member, leader at the Chapter and International levels. I responded with, “Why not?” and Makayla said, “Sorority is a lot of work.” to which her Mom joined the conversation and agreed it was a lot of work but it was work worth doing. After sharing our stories about why we love sorority Makayla softened a bit, and by the end of the evening said she would ‘consider sorority’ but would make no promises.
Driving home that night (2 and ½ hours) provided me time to think about Makayla and Allison. I wondered:
1. Will we win these girls over by the time their 18 years old, and in a decade, they will want to be SPG members?
2. Will Makayla follow in her Mother’s SPG footsteps?
3. Will Sigma Phi Gamma still be around in ten or twenty years for these girls?
4. What do we need to do today to strengthen our membership?
5. What do we need to do to be relevant well into the future?
6. How do we create a strong brand, tone, and messaging about who SPG is and what we do?
7. While ‘hard work’ is part of our roles (service, meetings, leadership) how do we speak eloquently and openly about the rewards of that hard work so that others see the value not the sweat equity?
I want to work hard and help SPG be all that it can be today and in the future. I want to vote for Makayla and Allison when they run for Province and International offices as they grow into leadership in Sigma Phi Gamma. I want my grandgirl Cierra (13) to be an SPG member and know girls like Allison and Makayla so that they can have strong bonds of sisterhood to last a lifetime.
Who are the little girls in your life that deserve a healthy smart chance to join SPG? Let’s commit ourselves to their future and the future of Sigma Phi Gamma International Sorority, Inc.!

Is anyone listening? Debbie Henize – International Historian

Hello!! Hello!! Hello!!
Is anyone listening? Several members of council have been writing blogs over the past several months. It is so discouraging to spend the time writing these blogs and getting no response and only a few people reading them. If you are reading this or any other blog can you reply? Or better yet can you write something? I know you are each great people. I would like to get to know you a little better or laugh at your joke. Treat it a little like Facebook. Write what is on your mind and contribute to the blog. All you need to do is write it and send it to Deb Juracich. She will review and post. It really is that easy. We need each and everyone of you. The more people participate the better this blog will become. No one person is interesting enough to keep this blog going. However, as a group we are fantastic, interesting, funny and just a wonderful group of women. Did anyone read Robin’s recent post? It is hilarious. A laugh can combat stress and just bring a smile to our faces. A recipe would be a great post. How about some information about your wonderful sisters or a great service project? I am from Ohio but would love to hear about the wonderful or horrible weather in other parts of the country. The more we talk the closer we become. You may have a better idea than the one’s I included above. Go for it. I can’t wait to hear from you. (Yes, You, not the person behind you, YOU!!)

Let me share something with you that made me laugh.
My mother-in-law’s name is Ann. My husband used my phone to call her the day before mother’s day. However, he did not have his glasses on and couldn’t see the display that well. He saw Ann and clicked call. Well, I was sitting across the room and he put the phone on speaker. Image my surprise when I heard my sorority sister and dear friend Ann Scott from Kappa Beta chapter on the other end. My husband starts talking to her while I am saying that is my friend not your mom. Well, he proceeds to say this is Mark, Debbie’s husband. She says I am sorry, you have the wrong number. Do you think he would have explained to her what had happened? No, he just says sorry and hangs up. Well she calls back and we had a laugh because you see I don’t get to talk to her very often and she wasn’t sure that it was my husband. If anyone from Kappa Beta writes a post and mentions this story, I will donate $20 to a service project of their choice.
See you all soon in Portland!!!

Funny Story from Robin Pelton-International Vice President

I recently reread a funny story that my sister sent me. Nothing Sorority related, I just thought I’d share it with you. I hope it tickles you as much as it tickled me. I actually laughed out loud because I have been through this. I expect most of us have….
This past weekend I went shopping with my daughter and sister and bought some clearance items. So today, of course I want to wear this one purple V-neck t-shirt I got for $2.50. Quite the bargain huh? Well I don’t know about you, but when you get something new, I like to try to wear it right away. It kind of makes me feel better. Especially since I am a slob, and always dribble some sort of food or drink on my shirts.

Well, after the shower today, getting dressed, I put on a bra, and then the new purple t-shirt. Oops! It’s a bit too low. So I had purchased some camisoles recently. You know the kind I’m talking about, the stretchy ones with the built in shelf bras…………did you know those act very much like sports bras? Unless your “girls” are small, perky or filled with saline, they are gonna get squished in these shirts. It’s almost worse than sports bras. At least with the sports bras you have more material in the “girl” area. You can “expand your horizons” a bit more, where, with these tight, stretchy camisoles, there is no give up front. So I thought, well maybe with the t-shirt over the camisole, you won’t notice the 4 inch roll that runs vertically about 9 inches below my collarbone, and horizontally, goes all around the front of me, including way under my armpits. You know, kind of like those blow up flotation rings that children use in water? Although, I have to say, it really didn’t go around my back, but then again, I can’t twist quite that far around anymore to get a good enough view. So the rule is, if I can’t see it, no one else should, right?

Anyway, I am getting off track here………..where was I. Oh yeah; I put the t-shirt on, and guess what? It’s VERY noticeable. It really looks like a blow up flotation ring is under my t-shirt. I can’t have that now, can I? So now I have to take the stupid camisole off. The trick is, though, not to throw my shoulders out of socket while doing it. Did you know stretchy material doesn’t breathe well? I now know that because, in taking the camisole off, it got stuck, my arms flailing in the air, the camisole is off my body, but still, somehow, connected to my shoulders, the “girls” are peeking out from this stretchy material, or perhaps I should say, oozing out, and it’s not a pretty sight (do you think they put superglue in these items of clothing or something?), and I am stuck, and now I cannot breathe. I’m being smothered by underwear. What will I tell my children? How can I explain this one to my husband so he won’t think my mother dropped me on my head as a baby…..several times? How will my obituary read?
So, trying not to huff and puff too much and use up too much energy, because we all know using up energy uses oxygen, and I can’t afford to lose too much air right now, so, carefully, I pull this stretchy torture device over my head, but it’s VERY stretchy, and no matter how hard I pull, there seems to be more fabric, and it’s still wedged…..back to huffing and puffing regardless of the consequences. I manage to get it off, almost knocking my head on the sink in the whiplash that I experienced removing it.

Needless to say, I put back on the bra, put back on the new purple v-neck t-shirt. You know what? A little cleavage never hurt anyone.
Have a great day!!

Spring? From Linda Bullington, International Service Secretary

Ah Spring, warm, sunny weather…maybe in some places… but not so much in Washington state. We have cold rainy Springs.The rare warm sunny day is a treat.
Spring season brings outdoor sports, my 2 grandsons play LaCrosse & my granddaughter plays softball, that’s at least 3 outdoor games a week if not more.
To be ready for this I have to bring a Coleman chair- the rigid kind cuz I’m getting older & can’t get out of those chairs that fold up into the bag any more, they sit too low… a stadium seat, a rain shelter for the reeeeally wet days, a golf umbrella for the misty days, a blanket, coat & lined gloves for the cold days, yeah, I think that’s everything I think I’m ready to watch their games. Wait, what…it’s the rare sunny day?? Awww I can’t see, it’s too sunny…I need sunglasses….ah my face feels warm, this is nice- hours later…oh no, my scalp & face are sunburned…better remember to add sunscreen & sunglasses to the trunk…
Why is my mileage per gallon decreasing so much lately?! could it be because my trunk has become a storage unit?!
Yep, that’s spring sports in Washington!

A Mother’s Heart and a Sister’s Love – Donna Collins, TJ’s Mom

As Mother’s Day approaches it is bitter sweet for me. Our oldest son TJ died on April 26, 2010. He was 31 years old. TJ was smart, articulate, an avid reader, funny, a great singer, and a story telling kid who loved his family and friends. When TJ died a part of me died. I stopped wearing a watch because time just wasn’t that important anymore. I stopped dreaming about lots of things because the pain was too deep and TJ’s death was just too much for me to handle.
In the days, weeks, years that followed TJs death I slowly realized that I couldn’t stop living because after all I’m fortunate to have two living sons, Josh (36) and Ryan (24), who are healthy and happy. I am still their Mother, I still have an obligation to keep making new memories with them. And, we also have a grandgirl (Cierra who is 13) and a grandboy (Chance who is 8) who keep life interesting and fun. Can’t forget about Josh’s wife, Deidre, who is like having my own daughter.
It’s an abnormal way of living with one portion of your heart frozen in time longing to see your dead son’s face, hear him laugh, and hug him tight just one more time. The other part of my heart is filled with love and admiration for the other boys’ smiles, stories of success, and plans for the future. My heart fills up – sometimes with tears, sometimes with joy, and always with love.
My husband and family continue to grieve and miss TJ. We also try to help each other by keeping TJ’s memory alive – telling stories and sharing photos. We have birthday cake on his birthday. Last time he was at our house he left a pair of shoes by the door. All these years later the shoes sit by the door where he left them. Those shoes bring me comfort. His leather jacket hangs on the back of the chair in our office where he left it. When I sit in that chair I can lean back and feel the collar of his jacket, it feels good. While all of this sounds like I must surely need counseling or even something bigger – I’m more fortunate than many women who have lost their children too early. I have Sigma Phi Gamma in my life. I have Sisters who will listen, talk, share, sit quietly to hold my hand, and help me live through the birthday, anniversary of death, holidays, and just plain awful days when the pain is too intense.
There are many reasons why women seek out an organization like Sigma Phi Gamma – what I know for sure is that had I not been a Sigma Phi in 2010 when TJ died I’m quite certain I could not have come out of the spiral of grief. A card would arrive out of the blue to say ‘hello, I’m thinking of you. Love, Your Sister.’ A group of Sisters would say, ‘let’s do a girls weekend, we deserve some time away.’ And we went. The phone would ring the day before TJ’s birthday and a Sister would be calling to see what I was up to and invite me for coffee.
Sigma Phi Gamma is an organization of women coming from all walks of life, with varying skills and interests, who have hearts and minds that are focused on love and friendship. Sure, we can have opposite ideas and views but at the end of the day we’ve got each other’s hearts in the palm of our hands – holding each other in love during good times and bad. So, my abnormal life has truly been shaped by my Sigma Phi Gamma Sisters across the United States and Canada – there are no boundaries to what SPG can do to make your life better.