Displaying 1 - 10 of 335 entries.

My Experience as a Collegiate Mentor at the Dunham Women of Character Institute

  • Posted on January 20, 2015 at 12:07 pm

By: Rachel FenskeRachel Fenske

We who receive much, must give much. As a Tri Sigma, I hear that line often. It wasn’t until last year, when I served as a collegiate mentor for the Dunham Women of Character Institute that those words came full circle.

My experience with Dunham goes beyond my time as a mentor. When I joined Tri Sigma in the Spring of 2012, I was given the chance to attend Dunham. I had no idea what I was getting myself into and didn’t know what to expect. What came to be was a weekend that inspired me beyond words. It spurred my ambitions in Sigma, and pushed me to apply for an open position on Honor Council in my chapter, which eventually led to being elected onto Officer Board to which I served two terms. It was Dunham that sparked my love of national programming, and helped me find the desire to attend Convention, Officer Academy and to apply (and eventually be accepted and attend) the Labyrinth Leadership Experience.

It was because of my experience with Dunham the first time, that when the opportunity arose to be a collegiate mentor, I didn’t hesitate to apply. I knew that my Sigma experience could have been drastically different without Dunham, and I wanted to help others start their leadership journey.

That was exactly what being a mentor did for me. I was around newly-initiated Sigmas, listening to their ideas, watching conversations ignite passions. I watched as their knowledge of our organization grew and as they frantically took down notes to bring back to their chapter. It was like looking in a mirror-seeing other women gain so much from the conference that gave me so much. I left the weekend with my heart full of hope for those young women, knowing that their Sigma journey was just beginning.

I would encourage anyone who is interested to apply to be a mentor at Dunham. You will help mold and shape sister’s futures in their chapters and nationally. You will learn so much yourself! You will make new friendships and bonds with the other mentors and the attendees at your table. You will leave Dunham feeling whole, happy, and filled with Sigma love. You will receive much, while giving much. Dunham is a special conference that holds a dear place in my heart, apply to be a mentor and I know it will find a place into your heart too.

 

Hi! I’m Rae, and I am a recent graduate of Minnesota State University, Mankato where I studied Sociology and Non-Profit Leadership. I have recently entered the workforce and am excited to join an Alumna chapter and continue my life-long Sigma journey!

Confessions of a Sigma-holic

  • Posted on January 15, 2015 at 12:08 pm

Hello, my name is Jackie and I’m a Sigma-holic…Jacqulyn King

As a confessed Sigma-holic, I’m obviously obsessed with all things Tri Sigma, but I recently discovered something that I confess… I found disappointing.

Recently, I was perusing a copy of Essential Sigma, which is the manual used in Tri Sigma’s new member education program.  I am fiercely proud of this resource.  The sisters who developed this curriculum did an outstanding job, and it certainly deserves all the acclaim and awards bestowed.  Yet, I found something missing that I consider essential.

When reading the section dealing with Alumnae Membership, I discovered there is no mention of the Golden Violet Award.  This book explains there are Alumnae Opportunities such as Alumnae Chapter membership, serving as a Key Alumna, or being a member of a Collegiate Advisory Board or Housing Corporation.  It also points out there are opportunities to participate in Alumnae Panhellenic associations, and to become a National Officer of Tri Sigma.  Even when discussing Alumnae Recognition, the Golden Violet, the very symbol of a sister remaining Faithful Unto Death, was not listed. What an unfortunate oversight.

Not wanting to nit pick, I hesitated to write about this.  Times change and it is important to keep an open mind.  However, when a younger sister mentioned that she had no idea what a Golden Violet was until she attended a National Convention, I felt compelled to speak up. As a collegiate member, I was always taught that we should all strive to become Golden Violets, is this no longer the case?

In searching for current information published by Tri Sigma concerning the Golden Violet Award, I found this definition on page 414, of the Appendix of Ever Forward Sigma Sigma Sigma: Over a Century of Sisterhood 1898-2010:

            “The Golden Violet Award is awarded to a member who has been an

            alumna for 50 years and who has given service and financial support

            to Tri Sigma.  She shall have paid her lifetime dues or annual national

            dues for 20 years or more.  She must be nominated [by an Alumnae or

            Collegiate Chapter] to receive this award.”

Following this explanation, Golden Violet recipients were listed under their collegiate chapters.  Although I was grateful to find this information, it was buried in the Appendix, and did little to justify the significance of this award.

I suspect that many sisters are under the impression that the Golden Violet is simply a pin presented to sisters upon the 50th anniversary of their initiation into Tri Sigma. This is a huge misconception. It has been my privilege to see eight incredible members of the West Michigan Alumnae Chapter receive their Golden Violet.  These sisters exemplify what it means to be a steadfast Tri Sigma, who is also involved with, and contributes to her community. The Golden Violet is an award sisters earn, not just become. Shouldn’t it be “essential” that Sigma sisters aspire to be eligible for nomination, when their time comes?

Jacqulyn King (Alpha Phi) is a retired high school Library Media Specialist, and she and her husband Mark divide their time between homes in Michigan and Florida. She belongs to the West Michigan, Central Michigan and Southwest Florida Alumnae chapters. Her blog Confessions of a Sigmaholic runs the third Tuesday of every month.

Is Everyone Wearing Panties? Is anybody else tired?

  • Posted on January 2, 2015 at 12:06 pm

By: Molly Schroeder SteadmanMolly Schroeder Steadman

When I was pregnant, I got lots of advice;  whether I asked for it or not! One mom did tell me something that really stuck with me. “Molly,” she said, “you are never going to be not tired.” And was she ever right, I am tired!

Now my girls are great and my little man is a rock star, but I am tired. And I bet you are too.
I am tired of the never ending battle of nutrition. Doughnuts are not a grain and marshmallow peanuts are not a protein source. It’s bad enough that you have to have these conversations with the children but one would think the preschool administration would have gotten the memo. I am tired of standing between junk food and my kids with a whip and a chair.
I am tired of having to explain the language and images on my TV in the middle of the day. For heavens’s sake did the FCC disband due to lack of interest? Would they like to explain why Paris Hilton is eating a hamburger in her S&M bathing suit at 2 in the afternoon? Because I don’t. How about what “E.D.”  stands for and why they are talking about it during a commercial break during Doc McStuffins? Because I don’t.
I am tired of trashy Halloween costumes for 4 year olds, princesses of all ages that await rescue, kids being left in cars, moms judging each other and the guilt of not being as good as the people on Pinterest.
I am tired of feeling inadequate for not reading enough to my kids, not serving kale at every meal and not hand making a decorative scene for a holiday I know nothing about. (Seriously now we have to celebrate Pi day, Sweetest Day and Canadian Thanksgiving?)
 So you know what? I am quitting. I am letting myself off the hook. No more judging, self loathing and competitive crafting. I give up, it’s time we all just took a nap.
What makes you tired? Leave us a note in the comments.
Molly Schroeder Steadman (Chi) is a former chapter officer, local and national sorority volunteer, and National Headquarters employee. She recently moved back to Kansas with her husband and three children. Join her in supporting the future of Tri Sigma with regular donations to the Foundation, preferably the Chi Scholarship fund. Her blog, “Is everybody wearing panties?”, runs the first Friday of every month. Values aren’t something you are born wearing; like your panties, you have to put them on every day before you leave the house.

Confessions of a Sigma-holic

  • Posted on December 18, 2014 at 12:02 pm

Hello, my name is Jackie and I’m a Sigma-holic…Jacqulyn King

As the holidays approach I confess that I have been the usual shopaholic, with lots of time spent looking for gifts and other items for the festivities ahead.  What can I say? “Tis’ the Season!”

While our minds are on giving, I would like to suggest a present that you can give yourself, and one that will last a lifetime. We all relish tokens of silver and gold, but I’m not talking about bling.  Rather than buying jewelry or designer handbags, I propose that Alumnae and soon to be Alumnae sisters commit to fulfilling their stake in Tri Sigma by becoming Lifetime Members.

The price tag attached to Lifetime Dues may seem exorbitant, but I am totally passionate about encouraging sisters to make this step if they possibly can. It has been my experience that Lifetime Membership predicts a sister’s future involvement in our sorority, and actually makes sense economically. I have never regretted paying my Lifetime Dues, so much so that when my own daughter became a Tri Sigma, my husband and I pledged to pay her Lifetime Dues on a three-year payment plan.  The last remittance was made in September, and I am proud that my daughter is a card caring Lifetime Member of Sigma Sigma Sigma Faithful Unto Death.

As the New Year approaches, please consider taking this step and allocate the funds for Lifetime Dues into your budget.  The $1,050.00 fee may seem like an insurmountable mountain, but if you break it down and take small steps you can reach the top.  National offers a three-year payment plan.  Sisters can make one payment of $350.00 each year, or make two payments of $175.00 twice a year.  If that still sounds overwhelming, why not break it down ever further by setting aside $29.17 each month, or $6.74 a week. Create a visual reminder to aide in keeping your goal in mind.  Clean an empty clear mayonnaise or pickle jar, and design a label featuring the skull and bones with our open motto Faithful Unto Death.  Leave enough room on your label to list the months of the year with a blank beside it (e.g. Jan. ___  Feb. ___ etc.).  Each week drop $6.74 in the jar, and check off the month as it is completed.  This will allow you to see your progress and meet the goal.

What will you receive in return for this investment?  A small laminated card and a thank you, along with the satisfaction that inevitable increases in dues will not affect you.  Although this may appear to be a modest reward, it is evidence that you plan to remain true to your vow to be Faithful Unto Death. While in college sisters are willing to pay much higher dues, but then some cease following graduation. I liken this to quitting a race just short of the finish line. In three years a sister can fulfill her financial pledge to Tri Sigma for life.

I hope all sisters young and old plan to become Golden Violets.  This award is presented to Sigma Sisters who have remained active for 50 years.  To receive the Golden Violet, sisters must be nominated by either a collegiate or Alumnae Chapter, and must either be a Lifetime Member, or have paid their annual National dues for at least 20 years.  It always surprises me how many sisters are not aware of this, and who believe The Golden Violet is something that is automatically granted to sisters 50 years after their initiation.  As my golden anniversary draws nearer (I’m not there yet ladies), I am so happy that my financial obligation to Tri Sigma was taken care of years ago, allowing me to continue moving… Ever Forward.   Happy Holidays!

Jacqulyn King (Alpha Phi) is a retired high school Library Media Specialist, and she and her husband Mark divide their time between homes in Michigan and Florida. She belongs to the West Michigan, Central Michigan and Southwest Florida Alumnae chapters. Her blog Confessions of a Sigmaholic runs the third Tuesday of every month.

Acceptance is hard; So is Christmas!

  • Posted on December 5, 2014 at 12:05 pm

By: Molly Schroeder SteadmanMolly Schroeder Steadman

Christmas is hard. It’s a lot of work, decorating, shopping, and wrapping. My decorations never look as good as they look in the Pottery Barn catalog. And all of those holiday treats make my stockings a little too tight.

Our values can’t take a break just because it’s Christmas break. One of the values I work on during the holidays is acceptance. Now indifference can sometimes put on a holiday sweater and come to the party looking like acceptance but it’s not the same. Indifference is not caring that the kids are making gingerbread men at grandmas and are going to make the jump to light speed powered by the full octane rush of high fructose corn syrup. Acceptance is arriving at grandma’s and after realizing that the sugar frenzy, crash and comma is imminent,  taking a deep breath, grabbing a cookie and wondering for the umpteenth time how a parent that wouldn’t buy Honey Nut Cheerios has become a grandparent that leaves a trail of candy sprinkles when she walks across the room.

Acceptance works with your crazy relatives too. You know the one who picked up your gift at the gas station on the way over while you went to four stores to find just exactly what was on her list. Acceptance means smiles and being gracious while trying not to notice the receipt from 7-11 in the bottom of the clearly used gift bag.

Acceptance isn’t easy but it is something you can practice. When your dear husband puts his dirty coffee cup in the sink instead of moving 14 inches to the left and putting it in the dishwasher, don’t look at this as justification for hitting him with a skillet. This is a perfect time to exercise your acceptance muscle!

Look at that coffee cup, sitting there in the sink again, still dirty from the dregs of coffee that you made, even though he got up first and think, “acceptance, acceptance, ASSeptance,” no that’s not right, see it takes practice.

As you navigate the treacherous holiday landscape, make sure you tuck your values into your tiny black clutch. I will be bringing acceptance; not much else is going to fit in that bag.

What is your favorite part of the holidays? Share in the comments below.

Molly Schroeder Steadman (Chi) is a former chapter officer, local and national sorority volunteer, and National Headquarters employee. She recently moved back to Kansas with her husband and three children. Join her in supporting the future of Tri Sigma with regular donations to the Foundation, preferably the Chi Scholarship fund. Her blog, “Is everybody wearing panties?”, runs the first Friday of every month. Values aren’t something you are born wearing; like your panties, you have to put them on every day before you leave the house.

The Success of Failure: Life Lessons Through the Impact of Others

  • Posted on November 27, 2014 at 12:03 pm

By: Beth FisherBeth Fisher

Life is an evolution of education. You never stop learning. Now in my mid-thirties, I realize this more than ever. Those around us shape who we are as individuals.

When I think of the many people that have impacted my life so far, I automatically think of my grandfather. I was lucky to have spent a great deal of time with him and my grandmother growing up. Both deceased now, they were part of what some call the greatest generation. As first and second generation Americans born in the northeast section of Philadelphia in the 1920s, they saw a great deal of change and transition, up and downs through their lives. Through all of it, I know that many life lessons were learned. And many, he taught me through his actions and character. While my grandfather is no longer here with me physically, he is always present in my everyday life as I strive to carry out the lessons he taught me. My time spent with him had a major impact on who I am today. I share with you some lessons as a “pay it forward” for this holiday season.

Lesson #1 – Treat people as you would want to be treated.

People won’t always remember the details of a situation but they will remember how you made them feel. It’s a very simple concept and one that is taught through actions. While I’m not perfect, I strive to live this lesson in my everyday life through successes and failures.

Lesson #2 – You can have all the money in the world but if you don’t have anyone to share it with, it is meaningless.

The one thing that my grandfather truly loved in life was his family. Family meant the world to him and it showed through his actions. He always put his family above anything else in life. And it was true in the time he even spent with his grandchildren. At my grandfather’s funeral, my uncle said it best. He talked about how my grandfather was the richest person in the world because he had something that money couldn’t buy…the love of his family. We live in a society that values material things. Just remember that material things can only fill a void temporarily. It’s the relationships you build with others that are long lasting and have meaning.

Lesson #3 – Be grateful for what others do for you.

My grandfather is one of the greatest individuals I’ve ever known to this day. He would give you the shirt off his back if you needed it. And all he desired in return was a moment of gratitude. Don’t take people for granted in the things they do for you…you never know when you will need them again.

Lesson #4 – To be successful in your job, do not only learn your job but the job of those around you.

I’ve carried this lesson with me since I began working 20 years ago. The best decisions that you can make are ones where you understand the big picture and how the outcome impacts everyone in the process.

Lesson #5 – Character and integrity are what you do when no one else is looking.

My grandfather wasn’t a very religious man but he certainly had a good moral compass. I was lucky to be surrounded by an individual who did the right thing and taught me how important it was to do the same. Character and integrity are important to me, especially when no one else is looking.

Beth Fisher (Zeta Rho) has more than 12 years of experience in higher education, student development and event planning. She has served Tri Sigma in various volunteer roles including Collegiate Coordinator, Extension Director and currently serves as a College Panhellenic Coordinator for Region 1. Beth resides in the northern suburbs of Philadelphia where she enjoys spending time with family and friends. Her column “The Success of Failure” regularly appears the first and third Thursday of every month. 

Confessions of a Sigma-holic

  • Posted on November 20, 2014 at 9:09 am

Hello, my name is Jackie and I’m a Sigma-holic…Jacqulyn King

November has arrived, a month where Americans traditionally reflect on thankfulness. I am truly thankful for this sisterhood and wish to acknowledge my appreciation.

I am so grateful for my Alpha Phi collegiate Chapter, and for all the sisters and wonderful life long friendships I have made there. Also, thank you to all the sisters who serve on the Chapter’s CAB and on the Housing Corporation. You are the reason this Chapter has grown and is thriving, making it a wonderful place for Alumnae to come home to.

The West Michigan (formerly Grand Rapids) Alumnae Chapter has been an active and vital part of the community for 65 years, and I’m so thankful they were here to take me in when I was a stranger. These women have been my rock and I cherish each member old and new. I am especially grateful that these sisters made it possible for my own daughter Kilee, to become a Tri Sigma through Alumnae Initiation. Kilee was a nontraditional student who did not engage in the typical college experience, but thanks to this Chapter and to National’s Alumnae Initiation program, Kilee and I are able to share this special bond.

Later this month I will be participating in an Alumnae Initiation with the Central Michigan Alumnae Chapter, where another sister’s daughter will enter our circle. This gifted young woman is like a breath of fresh air to this Alumnae Chapter, and I am so pleased that she has chosen to become a part of our sisterhood. Her mother along with the entire Alumnae Chapter could not be more grateful.

I am so thankful that I paid my Life Time dues soon after graduating from college. At the time there were no Alumnae Chapters in my area, and I did not make a lot of money, but I have never regretted this decision. I am also grateful that my daughter is a Life Time Member. Come what may, wherever Kilee goes she will be able to be as active in Tri Sigma as she chooses, without the worry of paying National dues.

Since retiring my husband and I have become snowbirds and divide our time between homes in Michigan and Florida. Thanks to all my Sigma sisters in the sunshine state this has been an easy transition. The Southwest Florida Alumnae Chapter welcomed me with open arms. It was also my privilege to vote for Marni Dilsaver Sawicki, who became the first women Mayor of Cape Coral, FL. Marni is not only a Tri Sigma, but was initiated in my home chapter of Alpha Phi. She was the best candidate by far and I appreciate Tri Sigma’s influence on this next generation of leaders.

Our National organization is so fortunate to be lead by such accomplished and articulate women.   Across this country there are so many members who unselfishly volunteer their time and talents to our order. Sisters who believe that to receive much, you must give much. It is a true blessing to be part of this wonderful sisterhood with its focus on friendship, character and conduct. I am thankful to be a Tri Sigma, and I wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving.

Jacqulyn King (Alpha Phi) is a retired high school Library Media Specialist, and she and her husband Mark divide their time between homes in Michigan and Florida. She belongs to the West Michigan, Central Michigan and Southwest Florida Alumnae chapters. Her blog Confessions of a Sigmaholic runs the third Tuesday of every month.

The Success of Failure

  • Posted on November 13, 2014 at 12:02 pm

By: Beth FisherBeth Fisher Race

I have always said that you can learn a lot about a person’s true character through failure. I believe having character in failure is about accepting your accountability in the situation and allowing yourself the vulnerability to heal in the process. Accepting accountability for your actions is one of the most difficult things to do in life. It’s about being honest with yourself because at the end of the day, you are the judge and jury. I can guarantee this; we are all going to experience some sort of failure in life but it is how you handle yourself through that time that defines you and your character.

This concept is very fresh in my mind as I recently set a goal in spring 2014 to complete my first half marathon. Over the course of the past 12 weeks, I spent a decent amount of time training for what would become a difficult challenge for me. It was a challenge that, in my mind, I was determined to overcome.

The experience of running began as something to do with my twin sister, which is very special to me. Through her encouragement, I officially began running in January 2013 as a way to become more active in my life. If any of you know me, I am not the type of person that you look at physically and would think, “She is a runner.” I am 5 feet 4 inches with a curvy build; I often refer to myself as a non-runner runner!

I’ll be honest. At first, running was not fun. For the next 8 months, I would waiver in my personal commitment to training for various races. Because of this, it took me to my third 5K in September 2013 to run a race in its entirety. But it was that day that something changed in me. When I crossed the finish line at a race in New Hope, Pennsylvania, I experienced a wave of emotions that I had never felt before; a feeling of pride in accomplishing something I never thought was possible. The pride I felt for myself was true and genuine. It was that moment that planted the seed of confidence to potentially take this personal challenge to the next level in the future.

Fast forward to Sunday, November 2, 2014… I competed in the Princeton Half Marathon. Through the hills of Princeton, New Jersey along with wind gusts of 20 mph and temperatures in the 30s, I made it to mile 9 but found myself behind the race pace. At that point, I was bumped from the course as race organizers could only hold the roads closed for a certain amount of time. It was with disappointment that I climbed into a van with a handful of other runners. It was a moment that I felt the feeling of personal failure as I realized I would not be completing a race I spend so much time thinking about. I wanted to relive the feeling of accomplishment I experience back in September 2013. As much as everyone congratulated me on my accomplishment of 9 miles, I could not help but feel disappointed. My disappointment was more about knowing that, if given the chance, I could have finished the race. Ultimately, my goal was to cross the finish line of this 13.1 mile race, which didn’t happen that day.

After processing the race for the last two weeks, I realized that I (my personal judge and jury) was being too hard on myself. While to this day I still can’t fully celebrate the 9.11 miles completed, I am proud to look back and know that I gave it my best that day. The non-runner runner me of January 2013 would be celebrating. The runner me of November 2014 knows that at first you don’t succeed, try and try again. The Princeton Half Marathon is something that I desire to complete. I guess you’ll know where to find me this time next year!

Photo: Me (right) with members of my family that came to support me at the Princeton Half Marathon on Sunday, November 2, 2014. Missing: my twin sister as she was the photographer.

Beth Fisher (Zeta Rho) has more than 12 years of experience in higher education, student development and event planning. She has served Tri Sigma in various volunteer roles including Collegiate Coordinator, Extension Director and currently serves as a College Panhellenic Coordinator for Region 1. Her column “The Success of Failure” regularly appears the first and third Thursday of every month. 

Being A Great Sister: Diversify Your Friends

  • Posted on November 11, 2014 at 12:01 pm

By: Amanda CrossAmanda Cross

In Tri Sigma, there are so many things to be involved in and it’s better to be as well rounded as possible. In order to become a better sister it is important to dedicate yourself to becoming a well-rounded Sigma, one that reaches out past your friend group and tries to get to know other sisters.

Some ways that you might try to diversify your college experience:

  1. Go to a variety of events: If you go to a lot of intramural events, try going to a social event. If you attend a lot of sisterhood events, try going to a study group. Different people attend different events based on their availability and preferences. Not everyone will be interested in every event, or go to a ton of those events. If you find yourself in a rut, try mixing up the events you go to on a weekly basis.
  1. Find a lunch buddy: If you have a sister who you don’t know very well–invite her to lunch. If you find that you don’t know many sisters, take the initiative to step out of your friend group. Something as simple as a lunch could be a great education tool on what sisterhood means to them, what activities they are involved in, etc. It is a great opportunity to learn more about your sister, your Chapter, and your University.
  1. Hang out in your Chapter house: If your sorority has a house or a common area that you can all meet in–go to that common area at different times of day or between classes. If you have a few hours, head to your sorority house. You never know who will be there and you may be able to bond over some awesome stuff.
  1. Work On Small Talk: Getting to know your sisters is a big part in diversifying your sorority experience. Practice small talk in a mirror or gather up some random questions so you always have them in your back pocket when you need to speak with people you don’t know. It’s important to always have a topic on hand that you can bring up to start a conversation. This skill will also be handy when you need to network!
  1. Gather groups for activities: One great and easy way to meet people is to do a group activity together. Having more than one person there might help you connect to them all better if you connect with one better than others. Being able to depend on one sister and integrate the other sisters into the conversation might help you become better involved with all the sisters on your group activity.

With anything related to getting to know your sisters or becoming a better sister you have to be really dedicated. You have to go to events, participate, and try your hardest to get to know other people and put yourself out there. It’s so important to get to know others to make a good impression.

Grateful For My Panties and So Much More

  • Posted on November 7, 2014 at 12:07 pm

By: Molly Schroeder Steadman

The leaves are turning and Starbucks is pushing Pumpkin spice like Michelle Obama is pushing kale. At our house that means turkey crafts and candy rations. I am a suburban mom with first world problems; I can’t get the house picked up for the cleaning lady and get the girls to ballet on time. The Whole Foods ran out of the organic coffee beans we like and I had to buy ground coffee for our French press. These are not tragedies, I have it pretty good.  And even though I like to complain about my not such a big deal problems, one of the values I need to remember to put on each day is gratitude. We all come from different places, but as women in America we have a lot to be thankful for.

Here is my list:

I am thankful I can drive. Saudi Arabia has a ban on women drivers. That means when you are desperate for an InStyle Magazine and a carton of Ben and Jerry’s you have to find a guy to take you to Walgreens. I can assure you this would be a hard sell at my house. And even if my long suffering husband agreed to take me, he would want to share the Chunky Monkey. I am so thankful I can drive!

I am thankful for indoor potties. A friend of mine had to potty trained her kiddo in Italy where a hole in the floor is not uncommon. That might have killed me and all the butter soft Farragamos in the world would not have kept me off a ledge. Kidding aside: lack of sanitary waste disposal leads to the preventable deaths of 1400 children worldwide every day. Think about women heading into the bushes, after dark in a culture like India where rape and sexual assault is commonplace. I am thankful for my potty.

I am thankful I can read. We live in a country that not only encourages girls to go to school but requires it. And unlike the 540 million illiterate women and girls in the world, I can visit a free public library, access the internet and literally read information that can save my life. I usually get the latest Nora Roberts book, but the point is I could read something important. Right now there are 31 million girls not in school. Some stay home because of violence directed at them and their families. Others stay home because educating girls is not important in their culture. But girls that lack education are more likely to be child brides and the victims of abuse. They are sentenced to a life of poverty for themselves and their children. I am so grateful I can read.

Finally, I am grateful that I live in America, where with each of my pregnancies I chose to give birth in a hospital surrounded (truly, how many people can you squeeze into a delivery room!) by trained health care workers. 800 women still die from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth every day. In Africa, in 2013, the lifetime risk of dying during pregnancy and childbirth was one in 40. The midwives, if they can find one, do their best, but are often illiterate, untrained and unequipped. Bush medical facilities lack running water, electricity and even the most basic supplies. For lack of a clean sheet and a safety pin, they are dying.  Say what you will about healthcare in America, I am thankful that I gave birth in the developed world.

That’s my list and it is nowhere near complete, but I hope it will give you pause so you can think about how good we really do have it. I don’t have solutions to any of these problems, although I am sure a google search will bring you any number of amazing organizations that are working on these issues and others like them. I am not above complaining about my own petty troubles now and again but right now, in this moment, I am grateful.

Leave me a note in the comments and share what makes you grateful right now.

Molly Schroeder Steadman (Chi) is a former chapter officer, local and national sorority volunteer, and National Headquarters employee. She recently moved back to Kansas with her husband and three children. Join her in supporting the future of Tri Sigma with regular donations to the Foundation, preferably the Chi Scholarship fund. Her blog, “Is everybody wearing panties?”, runs the first Friday of every month. Values aren’t something you are born wearing; like your panties, you have to put them on every day before you leave the house.