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Confessions of a Sigma-holic

  • Posted on June 21, 2016 at 12:15 pm

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

It is no secret that I am crazy over Tri Sigma, and that I have been since the moment I accepted my invitation to membership 43 years ago.  I love our values, rituals, symbols, and of course the system that governs this sensational sisterhood.  At the heart of this system is our National Convention, and I confess with regret that I had to miss this one.

There is certainly a lot to love about our sorority, but a Tri Sigma Convention tops my list of Sigma Favorites. Our conventions are outstanding, but here’s another confession, I didn’t attend a convention until I was 42 years old!  This was Sigma’s 37th Convention held in San Francisco in 1995, and I had the honor of serving as the voting delegate for the West Michigan (formerly Grand Rapids) Alumnae Chapter.

As if staying in the historic Fairmont Hotel was not enough, the Convention coincided with the 50th anniversary celebration of the chartering of the United Nations, and we shared residence in the hotel with William Jefferson Clinton, the 42nd President of the United States.  How the Secret Service prevented the news that President Clinton was residing in a hotel with over 500 sorority women, from becoming the fodder for late night television monologues, is anything short of amazing.

Seeing the governing of our sorority in action was an electrifying experience. I was goosepimply the whole time.  From the moment I participated in the Hanging of the Shields until the beautiful Festival of Lights Ceremony, I was in absolute awe.  This may have been my first convention, but I knew it would not be my last.

Since San Francisco, Convention as taken me to our Nation’s Capital, I got to meet Carrie Underwood, and see where Mary Tyler Moore threw her hat, plus stay in the happiest place on Earth.  I am filled with regrets over missing this year, as I know Chicago has so much to offer, but there is always next time.

At the writing of this blog, the location of the 2019 Convention is still a well-guarded secret, but I know wherever Tri Sigma sets her sails for in the next three years, God willing, I hope to be there. I envision sisters gathering from everywhere, joining with me to participate in the greatest “purple hug” on Earth.  Ever Forward!

 

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.

Swimming With Your Panties

  • Posted on June 3, 2016 at 12:07 pm

By: Molly Schroeder SteadmanMolly

Today was day 2 of swim team for the girlies. It was bad; if they only had to swim faster than the slowest kid, they would have been eaten by the shark.  But to be quite honest, day two was leaps and bounds better than day one.

Day one started out okay; they had new suits, goggles and flip flops. My long suffering Husband came along because when you are still on sabbatical, that is what you do on Tuesday mornings. After about 10 minutes in the water, the ‘water works’ started. Now that isn’t a swim team term for a special drill, no I mean to say the girlies started crying. And I am not talking about a little because you are trying just so hard and a single tear leaks down the side of your face like Jennifer Lawerence in one of those Hunger Game movies.
Full on sobbing, shoulders shaking; call the coach over, did a rogue killer whale gnaw off you leg? No, they were just freaked out by the noise and the splashing and the sheer craziness of day 1.
Day 1, all 45 minutes of it, was followed by a full 22 hours of long suffering husband telling me all of the reasons we should not make his precious little flowers go back to the mean, scary swim club.
At some point in his lecture, he sighed, rolled his eyes and muttered some words that sounded a lot like, stubborn and crazy and then stomped off.
He was right, I dug my heals in and played the mom card. They were going back today, tears or no tears. They were going to strap on those goggles and get back in the pool. Now I am not the heartless witch that countless collegians thought I was when I was in risk management. We bought new goggles that fit better, I dug out a couple of swim caps that would keep their hair back,  we had granola bars before practice (the kind with chocolate) and hot coco on the way home. But bribes or not, we were going.
And it worked, because skill set aside, they had a blast. Big smiles where yesterday there were tears. Making friends instead of snot bubbles. I wasn’t sure, in fact I had a pretty sleepless night worrying, but I couldn’t let them quit. They had to try and try hard. If they still hated it, well I probably would have caved, they are just 6. But they had to try.
There is a lesson in there for all of us, even when times are hard, we have to try. Even when the water is cold and the your goggles are pulling your hair, we have to dig deep and TRY. I recommend chocolate and new accessories to get you through.

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 May 17, 2016 at 12:05 pm

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

This month I confess that I am a shameless promoter, who is not above using a platform such as this blog, to publicize a future event that I hope will be absolutely FABULOUS!!!  On Saturday April 29, 2017, my Alpha Phi Chapter of Sigma Sigma Sigma will be celebrating the 75th Anniversary of its installation on the campus of Central Michigan University. HOOYAH!!!

Planning for this occasion has already begun.  Team Alpha Phi Jubilee, made up of Alumnae, CAB, and collegiate members, envisions a fantastic Founders’ Day weekend where Tri Sigmas will return to Mt. Pleasant, Michigan, to celebrate our sisterhood and enduring friendships.  The committee has the date, the place, but most of all we need our Alpha Phi Chapter sisters.

This leads me to the real point I hope to make in writing this particular blog.  To Tri Sigma sisters everywhere, and especially to those of you who have just graduated, please keep your contact information updated with our National organization.  Our committee members have spent hours gathering valid email addresses for sisters.  National provided the committee with a strip list from their database, but much of this information was no longer current.  We have reached out to sisters using social media, and the Tri Sigma grapevine, but to insure that you are not missed please report any name or address changes to National.  It has never been easier to do.  Simply click here for the Membership Record Update Form that will allow you to instantly submit your information online.

Also, when these opportunities to gather with your sisters presents itself, please take advantage. Do so not only because someone has taken the time to plan such an event for sisters, but also to renew and nurture the special friendships created through Tri Sigma.  Over the years I have learned how very precious and fleeting time is.  It is tiresome to hear, but you never know what the future holds.  I regret all the occasions I missed as a young alumna, who believed she had all the time in the world to reunite with her sisters.  The unforeseen diagnosis of cancer, or an accident robbed me of friends that I thought I would always be able see again.  Please do not follow my example and seize the day.

That being said, I wish all our chapters across the country great success as each makes plans for their own future special celebrations. Remember to update your information with National so no sister is left behind. Additionally, to all my fellow Alpha Phi sisters out there SAVE THE DATE!

TriSigma_SavetheDate_75thAnniversary-v3

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.

Cross Dressing in Panties

  • Posted on May 6, 2016 at 12:06 pm
By: Molly Schroeder SteadmanMolly
My son, the one that loves cowboy boots and John Deere green came down the stairs the other day wearing one of his sister’s dresses. Not a dress up dress or a tutu but a Hannah Anderson Seersucker church dress. “Ready for mass”, he says as only a two year old can. ” Oh dear, you can’t wear a dress to mass,” I told him, thinking about how I was going to wrestle him out of his dress and into the bow tie and sweater vest he was supposed to be wearing.
Confused, he tells me all about how Father Brian wears a dress and the Decon and the alter boys and the lector. Why can’t he? Why indeed? I was saved by the arrival of my father who could charm the pants (or in the case the dress) off any of my kids and we made it to church before the bells finished, no small feet for my traveling circus.
Disaster averted, I breathed a sigh a relief. But why was I so relieved? We don’t sweat the small stuff around here. You want to wear your Spider Man Jammies all day, go for it kid. And I really do feel the same about a tutu or a princess dress. So why was I so adamant about no cross dressing at mass?
Maybe because I was worried about being judged? Oh I know it’s everybody’s favorite hobby when the song is too high or the sermon is too long. What was she thinking when she put that on? Why would her mother let her wear that? Really, we are going to feed your 4 year old a banana during church? It’s easy to judge, and frankly some of these outfits are hard to resist.
Judging is the death of empathy. When we judge others we have moved beyond looking for similarities and mutual interests and landed squarely in the land of superiority. Nobody makes friends there.
When we are judging everyone we are learning nothing. We don’t grow or embrace a new culture, we stagnate, worried about others because if you are thinking those thoughts, what are they thinking about you?
I am not sure I am ever going to be evolved enough to let my little guy wear his sister’s church dresses, but I am going to be more aware of the times when I am judging others. Perhaps I will create an elaborate backstory that justifies the crazy. Just looking at the crazy in my own life, I should be able to find plenty of inspiration.

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 April 19, 2016 at 12:15 pm

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

I confess that I cannot wait for the Presidential Elections to be over.  The madness of the March primaries was unbearable, and the thought of what looms ahead as we move toward November, makes me want to volunteer to spend a year aboard the International Space Station.

As intelligent, passionate women, I am sure most of our sisters are politically involved in some way.  The challenge is to prevent our politics from dividing us.  In a 1961 Peanuts comic strip, Linus advised, “There are three things I have learned never to discuss with people…religion, politics, and the Great Pumpkin.”  These are good words to keep in mind in the days ahead.

It is difficult to elude discussing topics that we feel especially ardent about, but we must be mindful that everyone is welcome to their own opinion.  Since Sigma sisters share similar values, it is easy to assume that those values extend into politics.  Life has taught me that this is a mistake.  I was raised in a family of four, where we were all brought up with the same values, yet my siblings and I hold very different political views.  Why would sorority sisters be any different?

Please be careful to avoid a political pile on, a situation where sisters of one persuasion overwhelm another with a differing notion.  This can easily happen when individuals presume that everyone in a group shares the same convictions. Once a statement is made, let it go.  When it comes to politics it is always better to “agree to disagree”.

Tri Sigma’s mission is, to establish among its members a perpetual bond of friendship, to develop in them strong womanly character, and to impress upon them high standards of conduct.  In the controversial days ahead, we need to hold these goals close to our hearts.  Please show respect for others, but on that secret ballot always vote your own conscience.

 

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.

Sleeping in Panties

  • Posted on April 15, 2016 at 12:15 pm

By: Molly Schroeder Steadman Molly

After my girls were born, I came down with a pretty righteous case of Post Partum Depression. It creeps up on everyone a little differently, for me it was anxiety surrounding the kids health and safety. I am still a bit of a freak about their babysitters and their vitamins. So when my son was born and I caught myself wandering down the familiar rabbit hole, I called the doctor right away. Things got better but I was still tired all the time.

“Tell me about the quality of your sleep,” the doctor said. I held the phone away from my ear, surely I had misheard her. What quality of sleep?
Although this is not a typical night’s activities, it is the God’s honest truth last night’s exact sequence of events:
  •  I went to bed at a very respectably 9:30. As I took my multi-vitamin and put on night cream I thought, “You are still a fun person!”
  • At 10:45 the burglar alarm went off and I bounded out of bed faster than I have done anything for awhile! While all three kids slept, my husband and I raced to the key pad to punch in the code before the cops showed up.
  • At 11:30, my son who just slept through a burglar alarm was awoken by the sound of a flushing toilet; two rooms away. While I was soothing and patting and snuggling, my daughter came in comparing of a tummy ache.
  • 12:30: back in my own bed… Kid free! But, sigh, it’s was not meant to be.
  • 1:00: Daughter moaning with stomach pain, you can guess what came next.
  • 1:30: Change sheets, Jammie’s. Gather bucket and anti-nausea herbs.
  • 2-5:30: Dry heaving for daughter, gagging for me, snores for husband.
  • 6:00: Son comes in up and ready for the day. Day light savings is not a concept he really embraces.
I would like to send this account of the quality of my sleep over to the doctor. I am not sure she would believe me; she’s not a mom. The good news is that I don’t have to figure out how to work the Netflix to watch the rest of the Walking Dead, I can see all I need to see in my bathroom mirror.
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 March 15, 2016 at 12:15 pm

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

One of the things I like best about being a Tri Sigma is our willingness to support and encourage each other. I confess that self-confidence has always been a struggle for me, and I owe my Sigma Sisters so much for motivating and believing in me over the years. I sincerely doubt that I would have accomplished many of my life goals without them.

Recently I discovered Amy Cuddy’s 2012 TED Talk and was totally fascinated. Since this is the second-most-viewed talk in TED’s history, I am sure many of you are rolling your eyes and thinking…Well DAH! For anyone out there who (like me) is unfamiliar with Amy Cuddy’s research, she is a Harvard Business School professor and social psychologist, who studies how nonverbal behavior and snap judgments influence people. Cuddy A. (2015). Presence, book jacket.

In her 2012 talk, Professor Cuddy related her personal struggle with self-doubt and how she has learned to …Fake it until you make it. She discussed strategies that involve two minutes of power posing which helps to boost self-confidence before interviews, giving presentations, etc.

Oh, how I wish this information were available to me when I was young, but I am still grateful to have discovered it, as these lessons have applications for all ages. Collegiate chapter members can especially benefit. This advice will aid them in dealing with classes, sorority recruitment, activities, and employment. It’s a magic bullet for instant confidence.

Professor Cuddy’s poses have a great tie in with the “Power” component of the values emphasized in our ritual. I envision Tri Sigma workshops around the county teaching sister how to employ Purple Power Poses!

So if you have not heard Professor Cuddy’s talk I encourage you to click here. If you have already watched this, why not review the information one more time. I hope you will all feel empowered and ready to take on the world like “Wonder Woman”.

 

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.

Wishing in Panties

  • Posted on March 4, 2016 at 12:10 pm

By: Molly Schroeder Steadman Molly

My dear husband, whom some of you even know, is taking a brief sabbatical and now he is home. All. The. Time. So you should be careful what you wish for you know?

When we got married in 2007 he was working 80 hour weeks, and I wished he would come home so we could go out dancing and have long romantic dinners. Or whatever people with out kids do because for God’s sake who can remember? When I got pregnant with twins in 2009, I wished he would be home more so he could drive the forklift needed to lift me off the couch. When the girls were born I wished he would come home so he could hold a baby or two while I showered, ate or peed.  When my boy was born I wished he would come home so he could get sprinkled while changing a diaper for a change.  Now the girls are in school all day and Henry and I are having play dates and coffee clutches and we are rocking it at Kinder Music.  I guess I sort of got used to doing it all, not asking for help. I got used to deciding what was for dinner and holding the remote. And now I have to get used to something different. And it’s fine, usually.
Sometimes change is hard, a new system, a new plan, it’s hard to get used to. But it’s important to try, to be open. Whatever the change may be, it’s important to not just dismiss it with out trying. A life with out change is just wishful thinking.
What changes have you had to weather? Answer 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 February 16, 2016 at 12:15 pm

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

Sadly I was unable to attend the Annual Grand Rapids Alumnae Panhellenic Scholarship Luncheon this year. Since this is one of my favorite Alumnae activities, I visited the Grand Rapids Alumnae Panhellenic facebook page to see what I missed. The photos were lovely. Kathi Hatherly, the National Alumnae Panhellenic Committee Chairman, was the keynote speaker, and then… there “it” was. The “it” was a pledge paddle that had been incorporated as part of another sorority’s display. I confess that I wanted to ignore “it”. After all I had not participated in the event, and was just on the outside looking in, but then I remembered… What you permit, you promote.

I knew I had to post something, but what? No one wants to be “that person” who comes across as all self-righteous and judgmental. I knew this paddle had never been used to haze anyone, yet what does it symbolize? So I went ahead and posted this less than eloquent comment, “Not to be a downer, but wish the paddle wasn’t there. I know we love our paddles, but they are a symbol of hazing. Yikes!” Do I wish I had put it more delicately? Yes, I do. Am I sorry I commented? No I am not. A reply to my comment came fast, as I knew it would, “To me a paddle is a symbol of tradition and legacy. This one was from the 1970s.”

I completely understand where this sorority woman is coming from. I have a paddle just like the one in the photo that I now keep in my closet. The fact that I still have “it” probably makes me a hypocrite, but “it” was a gift from my big sister and I admit I love that paddle. Yet, the question still in the air is, a symbol of tradition and legacy… of what? It’s a paddle, no matter how many bows, violets or sailboats we put on “it”, no what colors “it” is painted in, “it” is a paddle, and for years these paddles were used to haze pledges. “It” is a symbol of hazing.
Not every sorority in the National Panhellenic Conference agrees with the ban of paddles, so I didn’t comment further. Awkwardly stated as my comment may have been, I had made my point. Everyone is entitled to her opinion, and old traditions are difficult to break. I am proud that Tri Sigma has taken a stand against hazing, and some day I hope that paddles will go the way of the freshman beanie, and raccoon coats. That “it” will just become another silly fad from back in the day.

 

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.

Confessions of a Sigma-holic

  • Posted on January 19, 2016 at 12:03 pm

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

Happy New Year! It is such a blessing to have a whole year ahead just waiting for us to write a new chapter in our lives.

New Years is also a time for reflection.  I recall seeing all the successful Tri Sigma Chapter’s recruitment photos from last fall on facebook.  It is so exciting to see healthy collegiate chapters grow and do well. The same can be said for active Alumnae chapters that are helping sisters to stay connected, and to realize there is fantastic sorority life after college.  However, I confess that while my collegiate chapter is doing very well right now, thank you very much, that was not the case while I was still on campus.

My heart goes out to struggling chapters. I know your pain. I can remember planning great formal recruitment parties that everyone seemed to enjoy, and then watch potential members take bids from larger sororities on campus. Where did we go wrong?  We would ask that question over and over.  National visitors would come with advice and ideas that we would implement, but then we still came up short. The truth of the matter is, Formal Recruitment is no magic bullet.  There are probably exceptions, but I can almost guarantee you that no small chapter ever became a large one through participating in Formal Recruitment alone.  If you are a small chapter who wants to grow you must get to the COR of the matter.  

Continuous Open Recruitment  (COR) is the solution to chapter membership growth and also maintaining healthy membership.  In the case of my college chapter, we fell into the trap of seeing membership recruitment as a season, rather than an on going process.  We would hope to recruit a large membership class during formal, and if that didn’t happen, well better luck next time. This road leads to nowhere FAST!  Recruitment needs to be a state of mind, as you make new friends on campus invite them to your sorority functions.  Reach out to students in class.  It never hurts to be friendly, and to be honest, most students on campus do long to make friends and feel a part of things. A sister once told me that she was just not comfortable talking to classmates. I promise you that attitude will kill a small chapter.  You must be willing to leave your comfort zone and reach out or you are done for.  No one can do it for you, not Nationals, another chapter, only you. If Tri Sigma has been a positive choice in your life, you need to share that with others.  

As for larger chapters, please keep in mind that you are only a couple semesters away from becoming small and struggling if you do not strive to keep your chapter at total.  I cringe whenever I hear collegiate chapter members say they do not have time for COR. Membership is the lifeblood of your group. Following formal recruitment, if you fail to continue to take new members until you reach total, your chapter is slowly bleeding to death. Discipline is the key, continue to recruit until you reach total. Doing so will help your chapter accomplish two important tasks.  First it will insure healthy membership, but even more importantly, it will teach your new members about recruitment. They will prove to be your best resource and should be included. This will give them an opportunity to share our sisterhood with their friends, and give them a sense of ownership.  

Alumnae chapters are not exempt from membership issues. While they no longer compete with sororities for members, they must strive for sister’s valuable time. Their challenge is always to plan programs that appeal to all ages and interests. The key to Alumnae chapter growth is to offer a variety of activities combined with a flexible schedule that allows more sisters to participate. For example, a group might have a few regularly scheduled business meeting, but also offer spin off interest groups, such book discussions, movie nights, get away weekends, Sigma Mommies who meet for toddler play dates, Golden Violets who meet for lunch, young Alumnae who meet for dinner, etc.   The whole group does not have to participate in everything that is planned. It is indeed a challenge, but it truly is the best way to reach out and involve everyone. Alumnae Initiation also provides another avenue for chapter growth, and a way to offer the benefits of sorority life to those who may not have had the opportunity while in college.

So as we look at the year ahead, let us be resolved to contribute to the growth of our sisterhood, and to involvement that will last a lifetime.  

 

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.