The Strawberry Patch

Enrichment and Inspiration for Beta Sigma Phi Sisters from Marilyn Ross

Give The Gifts of Sisterhood

Beta Sigma Phi 2004-2005 International Theme

Below are ideas and suggestions on ways you can use our theme. Please have fun, enjoy and most of all, give the best you can of yourself to your Sisters in Beta Sigma Phi!

Our theme stresses Sisterhood, one sister with another. It can mean different things for each of us. For one, it may mean a personal thing-making more friends, or becoming a better friend. To another, it may be an awakening-the realization that Beta Sigma Phi is like a friend giving her an opportunity to study the many different subjects that fall into our cultural studies. Another may see the spiritual aspect, and it may be the start of a new way of life for her, a search for the deeper, more meaningful purpose of living.

When a bid for membership is given to one with whom we wish to share Sisterhood, a yellow rose often accompanies it. On our theme charm and logo, our yellow rose (flower of Beta Sigma Phi and symbol of our Love and Friendship) is the centerpiece. In using our theme this year, highlight with lots of beautiful yellow roses!

As you plan socials, rush parties and chapter activities this year, wrap empty gift boxes in brightly colored paper and tie with ribbons and bows. It's an inexpensive yet colorful decoration. Add yellow roses, real or silk and there you have it, a beautiful table or room in which to enjoy all the treasures of Sisterhood!

What are the Gifts of Sisterhood?

   From our Motto: Life, Learning and Friendship

   From the Ritual of Jewels Ritual:
 Courage, Vision, Humility, Loyalty, Fellowship, Service

   From our Opening and Closing Rituals:
 Tolerance. . .
 Understanding. . .
 Appreciation. . .
 Giving our BEST!
 Shedding the Light of Our Torch throughout the world. . .
 Following the Good, True and Beautiful. . .
 Lighting the way for those who follow. . .
 Skill. . .
 Grace. . .
 Transmuting Dust Into Stardust. . .
 Clearness of Vision. . .
 Sweetness of Spirit. . .
 Earnestness of Purpose. . .

   From the Pledge Ritual:
 LOVE. . . (The first great lesson of our Sisterhood)
 Ideas. . .
 Courtesy. . .
 Being slow to expose a fault; eager to believe the Good and True...
 Sharing in Good times; sharing in sorrow. . .
 Dreaming together. . .
 Achieving together. . .
 Enriching most who gives most. . .

   Acknowledgment. . .
   Acceptance. . .
   Affirmation. . .
   Encouragement. . .
   Lending a helping hand; lending a listening ear and a sympathetic heart...
   Please add to this list!

SISTERHOOD means: a female friend who is like a sister; a female fellow member of the same organization; one of the same kind

   The symbol of a gift is a wrapped package, whether it is in a gift box, a gift bag, or wrapped in a totally creative, unusual container. Have fun with this! Use the idea of gift packages in decorations, programs, socials, service projects, yearbooks, scrapbooks and with your secret sister program. Most of all go back to the basics of Beta Sigma Phi. Give the best of yourself to your sisters...whether they be in your chapter, your council, across the street, around the world. In turn, this will bring out the best in them and they will give the best they have in return. Sky is the limit on what you can do!

   To be presented with a beautifully wrapped gift is an honor, a joy, and a mystery in a single package. The wrapping protects, hides, and decorates the gift. Whether simple or elaborate, the gift is a symbol of the giver's esteem or love for the recipient on some special occasion.

   The use of decorated packages has evolved over time, with particular influence from Oriental cultures. Research this. It would make for a fascinating program!
 Early Chinese peoples wrapped their gifts in parchment and decorated them with tinsel-like ribbons, and the Japanese still wrap their gifts in colored cloth.
 When wallpaper was first made in 16th-century Britain, the English promptly began using the colorful papers for gift-wrapping. Have members create their own creative gift-wrap...i.e., bandana handkerchiefs, pillowcases, etc.

   Use lots of ribbon, bows, and gift trims!

   In the March 1948 issue of The Torch, Dora Hepner Moitoret, Director of Washington Epsilon Chapter, Seattle wrote a talk entitled "Your Secret Sister." You can find it in its entirety in The Strawberry Patch (scroll down in the index). In part, she wrote: "Make of yourself a channel for good, knowing that the Eternal Father, the Shepherd of the sheep, will surprise you with impulses and inspirations. In this way we will be putting this program of friendship where it rightly belongs, not in the merchandise marts where the idea of expensive gift giving may keep you from giving real service to your sister, but in the HEARTS and lives of every one of us where the rich spiritual gifts are to be had for the taking." This talk is beautiful and to me, is the embodiment of what our theme is truly all about.

   Create a program(s) on the intangible gifts of Sisterhood, i.e., understanding, acceptance, tolerance, empathy, support, and etcetera.

   Symbolically, create a program on how to wrap gifts creatively. Design new ways of packaging those special tokens of sisterhood and friendship!

   Develop a program on ways you wish to give of yourself to others. Invite your chapter sisters to add their ideas.

Thoughts re: the theme . . .

What makes a Beta Sigma Phi heart?
 Certainly there are definite actions and deeds we must perform before we can be so recognized. To me, it seems that if we practice only the two great lessons of our Sisterhood -- the lesson love and the lesson of SERVICE -- we, too, can be labeled as having a Beta Sigma Phi heart!

Every act of service you perform will not only enhance the dignity of our Sisterhood, but will keep you-the gracious woman -- more charming!

A kind word of sympathy, a comforting pat on the back, a heartfelt compliment can do more to raise a bowed head than the finest gift of gold.

Life, Learning and Friendship is our Alma Mater.
Cooperation, Love, Sisterhood and International Understanding are our beliefs.

Not "what we give" but "what we share" is the goal of Beta Sigma Phi's everywhere throughout the world.

With the priceless Gift of Enthusiasm, there is a following through. And how is this accomplished? By forgetting the word "no." By developing the habit of "yes." By never being guilty of half-hearted acceptance of assignments, of drifting with projects instead of pushing them. By never, never making insidious excuses, having no fear of physical, mental, spiritual sweat!

We make a life by what we give.

The secret of friendship is just the secret of all blessing. The way to get is to give. There must be loyalty, which finds expression in service.
 - Hugh Black

If every member will exercise her privilege of sharing Beta Sigma Phi with other women, what a marvelous project it will be in terms of an International Monument to Unselfishness, to understanding, and to friendship -- yet, just a tiny gesture of each member-an expression of our gift to life in simple, friendly sharing.
 -Our Founder Walter W. Ross

How many times do we withhold small gifts because we feel they are unworthy or because we will not take time out even to bestow them?

Sisterhood doesn't come in a package. It is not a commodity to be taken down from the shelf with one hand -- it is an accomplishment of soul-searching prayer, and perseverance. . . . the spontaneous feeling of Sisterhood is a mark of human maturity.

 -Oveta Culp Hobby

The best thing to give
 Your enemy - forgiveness
 An opponent - tolerance
 A friend - your heart
 Your child - a good example
 A father - deference
 Your mother - conduct that will make her proud of you
 Yourself - respect
 All men - charity
 -Lord Balfour

. . . but what did I give? If I have given of myself in Love, Beauty and Truth to those I have encountered, then the gift was well given. For if we shut out all but self, then we shut out the greatest light of all, the light of giving. For the poet also said: "When you give of your possessions, you give little. When you give of yourself, you truly give."

The useful and the beautiful are never separated and if we, by sharing our Sisterhood with another can bring beauty into her life, then we have been useful.

The gift of Happiness belongs to those who unwrap it.

Instead of a gem or even a flower, cast the gift of a lovely thought into the heart of a Friend.
 -George McDonald

A Good Example is a great gift to give others!

The best gifts are tied with heartstrings.

The manner in which it is given, is worth more than the gift.

The only true gift is a portion of thyself.

Blessed are they who have the gift of making friends for it is one of God's best gifts.
 -Thomas Hughes

The greatest gift you can give another is to allow her to be herself.

A heart filled with LOVE always has something to give.

Beta Sigma Phi means to give graciously and receive humbly.

We may give without loving, but we cannot love without giving. (Think about this in relationship to Sisterhood remembering our first great lesson - is LOVE.)

Life is a precious gift. Keep it wrapped in LOVE.

Give generously, for your gifts will return to you later.

To self-disclose yourself is a gift.

Gifts of the Heart:
 Love, kindness, joy, understanding, sympathy, tolerance, forgiveness

Gifts of the Mind:
 Ideas, dreams, purposes, ideals, principles, plans, inventions, projects, poetry

Gifts of the Spirit:
 Prayer, vision, beauty, aspiration, peace, faith

Gifts of Time:
 Be minute-builders of more abundant living for others

Gifts of Words:
 Encouragement, inspiration, guidance

Give yourself with the radiant warmth of sunshine and the glow of the open fire.

The finest gift we can give is the gift of a constructive and creative life.

LOVE is life's greatest gift.

Our torch reveals the most precious gifts of Beta Sigma Phi. The gifts are wrapped in the vivid red of Love and ties with the gold and silver ribbons of laughter and tears. Tucked in the bows are little sprigs of evergreen memories. Enjoy the treasured Gifts of Sisterhood.

My Sister Is . . .
 someone who helps me find my smile.
 someone who accepts me for what I am.
 Someone who lets me know that my efforts are worthwhile, and that my accomplishments are worthy ones.
 someone who lets me know that she will catch me if I fall.
 someone who is so much more wonderful than she will admit to being.
 Someone who watches out for me and helps me through it all, and deserves to know that even though I don't always get a chance to show it, she is absolutely essential to the happiness that lives within my heart.
 -Ann Turrel

Like branches on a tree
 Sisters may grow in different directions, yet their roots are one...
 Each life will always be a special part of the other.
 -Judith Moore

To believe in life's gift is to keep hope burning bright even through the storm.
 -From Flavia's calendar

Special friends add ribbons and roses to everyday bouquets.

A daughter's gift...(use with your Legacies)
 "She is ever-unfolding: growing, changing, becoming. Her gift -- like the gift of life itself -- the renewal she brings to your own spirit, as she aspires to be all she might be."  -Robert Sexton

 "Today is yesterday's "tomorrow." What did I tell myself that I would do tomorrow? Maybe now I should write that long-due letter, call a neglected friend, balance my checkbook, read to a child, clean out the closet. ... When we're no longer on a set schedule, procrastination sets in.
 Loretta LaRoche, a stress management specialist, closed a presentation with, "Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, and today is a gift. That's why we call it the present."
 Dear Lord, You were there for me yesterday, with me today, and You will be there tomorrow. In the meantime, I need Your help to be all that I want to be, to make the best use of my present."
 -Aileen Mallory

A Recipe for Friendship

2 cups LOVE
4 teaspoons compassion
1 dash of kindness
¼ cup laughter
1 phone call ... just because

Carefully mix above ingredients.
Hand stir slowly taking turns.
Can be baked year round during sunny days or clouds and rain.
Sprinkle with laughter and garnish with hugs. ♥

Time sifts our friendships and our friends,
For time alone can be the test.
And with the passing of the years,
We lose the false and keep the best.
And when, beyond the distant hills,
The golden sun of life descends --
We find God's greatest Gift has been
The love of true and faithful friends.
 -Author Unknown

10 Gifts to give all year long!

 1. A smile.
 2. Say "Good Morning" even if it isn't.
 3. Let someone ahead of you in line.
 4. Do a kind deed anonymously.
 5. Do what you value and value what you do.
 6. Say something nice to someone.
 7. Spread a little joy.
 8. Laugh at an old joke.
 9. Share a dream.
 10. Send a 'thinking of you' card.
 -excerpted from Acts of Kindness

Each day comes bearing its gifts, untie the ribbons!
 -Ann Ruth Schabacker

"Wait not for tomorrow. Gather from today the Roses of Life."
 -Pierre DeRonsard

"Life is a gift of time. May you cherish every moment."

Finding our way isn't always easy. The gift of true friendship is that it takes us by the hand and reminds us we are not alone in the journey.
 -Flavia calendar

Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God's kindness: kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile.
 -Mother Teresa

... The Wisdom of my Sisterhood,
 Like a beacon in the night,
Illumes my purposes
 And leads me to the light.
 -Author Unknown

What Beta Sigma Phi means to me .. in part ..

By Eleanor Sweet of PA Alpha Lambda, Chester

 "As I stood in candlelight, I gazed around at the different faces in the room, and I thought, these women, how pretty they are, how sincere, how their faces gleam forth through the candle lighted room. I thought, 'Who are they? What do they offer the world? How will knowing them effect me?' In the candlelight, they all seemed very much the same, fair faces, pretty dresses, but as the years went by, I learned how different each was - all gracefully moving in her separate little world, all with something worthwhile to offer my world, and I tried to grasp the things each had to offer:

A love of music
A love for art
Unflinching bravery
Interest in books
Quiet poise
Refreshing beauty
One who stands for learning
Graciousness for which womankind is striving

 Here in this handful of women, all are of the fine things the world is seeking, and I think how restful and reassuring it would be for this earth, if it could but glimpse into our tiny circle."

Idea for use with your program planning:
 Ask or assign each member in the chapter to give her program on a different 'Gift of Sisterhood'. Share your thoughts together. Become a closer circle of friends by doing so!

Ways to wrap gifts - tips from Hallmark

   Wrap a plant or flowers in tissue, allowing it to billow out around the plant
   Place the flower in a basket that's the same shape but slightly larger
   Wrap a ribbon around the basket's handle; accessorize with bows and gift trim

   Prolong suspense elegantly by wrapping articles of clothing in two colors of tissue paper and seal with a coordinating sticker
   Do you have a sister who shakes her presents to tries to see what's inside? Keep her guessing with a handful of marbles at the bottom. J
   Disguise a gift by packing a can of nuts in with something else. The weight and noise will keep them guessing!

   Colorfully decorate a box, which contains smaller presents wrapped individually. Mixing and matching colors and styles (with gift wrap or tissue) makes the variety of gifts stand out. Once opened, the box can be used to save other items.
 How to:
1) Take a hat or shoebox and line it inside and out with colorful wrap
2) Fill it with brightly wrapped smaller gifts
3) Close it with a ribbon and bow; top it off with a card

   Ribbon weave: Wrap 3 ribbons one way, then wrap 3 more in a different color around the other way and weave them through the first ones.
   Hourglass: Wind around the box 3 times, then gather the ribbons and tie knot in the center; curl ribbon and attach with ties.
   Cross-Corner: This one takes the traditional corner ribbon wrap - then repeats it on the other corners. Be sure the ribbon meets in the middle of each edge.

 BIG THINGS AND SMALL PACKAGES TOGETHER, i.e., travel photo album and film, a toy and batteries, a decorative window box and packet of seeds, box of stationery and stamps, etc.
   Use coordinating tissue to wrap the larger gift.
   Insert into larger bag, using tissue to accent.
   Put small gift in coordinating bag; attach it to the larger bag with a gift tie or ribbon.

A Sister is someone who...
   is concerned with everything you do
   you call upon during good and bad times
   understands whatever you do
   tells you the truth about yourself
   knows what you are going through at all times
   does not compete with you
   is genuinely happy for when things go well
   tries to cheer you up when things don't go well
   is an extension of yourself without which you are NOT complete!

(Written by Donna Roberson - Northern California Council)

Sisterhood is made up of voluntary action, not mandatory obligations.

Accept your members for what they are socially and what they can give. Do not demand conformity for this brings disinterest.

Take time to care and share each other's feelings, not just one's own status.

Working as a unit, not causing mixed feelings which split the unit in fraction.

It has been written law that all women are created equal, for example, her power of vote in policy making.

Respecting the opinions and decisions of the majority. Not pressuring for your own interests.

Feeling free to express one's own attitude brings about honesty and friendship.

An open ear to one's opinions and thought. Don't make your members feel like they will be penalized for what they feel and say.

Listening and understanding instead of not listening and disregarding.

Sisterhood is desirable in order to develop a more mature and socially self-confident person, not destroying the individual.


Chapter traditions are fun to establish over the years and add so much more meaning to our Beta Sigma Phi Sisterhood! Here's an idea for you, a Pledge Sister. This idea is not exactly new to Beta Sigma Phi, but a very good one to consider for your new members.

A Pledge Sister is one who helps the new member become at ease and at home in her new chapter right away. It would be best for the Pledge Sister to be some other member in your chapter rather than the friend who introduced the pledge. Here are a few points on how this plan works:

 1. A Pledge Sister volunteers and the arrangements are made either before the Pledge Ritual or immediately following it. You have one special sister for each new pledge your chapter has invited to membership. Any member would be a good Pledge Sister, but especially those who aren't already carrying a lot of responsibility in your chapter.

 2. The pledge is introduced to her Pledge Sister immediately following the Pledge Ritual.

 3. The sister will see to it that her pledge is called before every meeting to make sure she can get to the meeting, get to Pledge Training meetings, has transportation, helps arrange for babysitting, if necessary, etc.

 4. In chapters where this plan has been used, various traditions have grown up. Sometimes the Pledge Sisters give special gifts (keeping the cost at a minimum), or will drop by to visit over coffee, meet for lunch, or perhaps go shopping together. The Pledge Sister will not have anything to do with the Pledge Training, but should make it clear that she is there to answer any questions about Beta Sigma Phi.

 5. The Pledge Sister stands behind her pledge during the Ritual of Jewels ceremony, and this marks the official end to her responsibilities. HOWEVER, there will always remain a special bond of friendship between them!

Pledges in chapters who have used this plan are so enthused about the idea at the time of their Ritual of Jewels ceremony that they are the first to volunteer as a Pledge Sister at your next rush!

If you have any questions concerning this plan, or if there are other ideas to help you with rushing or Pledge Training you would like, please email your Division Chairman. She would love to hear from you! (Please put on the subject line: Attention: (followed by your Division Chairman's name). Don't know who she is? Check inside the front cover of your Torch magazine.

Sisters in Beta Sigma Phi,
 Take the Gifts of Sisterhood.
Keep them in your hearts...
 ...Yet share them at every opportunity.

Here is a Sisterhood Party Plan for you to enjoy!

Sisters of the Heart

No one needs to convince us that Beta Sigma Phi Sisters are "Sisters of the Heart!" Here's one theme party that every chapter can throw themselves into 'whole-heartedly!" What could be easier than showing your rushees why you are truly "Sisters of the Heart" and why "Giving the Gifts of Sisterhood" is so important to you? Preparing for this party is a great chapter activity. While making imaginative, fun nametags and invitations for the rush party, take turns reminding each other of fun times you have shared as a chapter. Remember times when you have laughed so hard you cried, or times when you have needed your sisters and they were there. These are the stories that you will want to share with rushees-stories about heartfelt 'sisterhood.'

Craft stores have everything you need to make nametags that double as favors. Glue plastic hearts OR gift packages to a backing with a pin. Write the names on the hearts or gift packages with paint pens or glitter paint. Glue on beads or sequins for decoration. Or stencil gift packages on colored paper, or use rubber stamps. Make them simple and easy!

Hearts, lace, ribbons, black and white pictures of little girls, most anything feminine can be used to create memorable invitations. Be creative and make your own, or take the easy route and select one of the many heart or gift note cards or computer paper available in craft stores and gift shops everywhere.

Home is where the heart is! Gardens or backyards are great locations with minimal décor required. Use your yearbooks, scrapbooks and past copies of The Torch for decorations that show how you've put your "heart and soul" into Beta Sigma Phi! If you are having an indoor party, pull out some Valentine decorations and/or wrap empty gift boxes in assorted sizes using colorful wrapping paper and ribbons. Place strategically around the room. Make a centerpiece with prettily wrapped gift boxes and plenty of yellow roses!

Party Favors and Prizes Go heart crazy! Or, focus yet on the International theme. Heart suckers, key chains, stickers, stationery ... there isn't anything easier to find. And, if you look for gift package stickers, stationery and so forth, you'll find them. Little surprises from the Beta Sigma Phi Gift Department are always great! Use the Amish "Heart In Hand" quilt pattern for a theme. With this, you can give quilt blocks, pillows or pictures for party favors.

Mixer Ideas
Ask each person to bring a picture of herself as a child. Number the pictures and give everyone numbered paper. As the party progresses, try to guess which picture matches each guest. The winner, of course, is the one who has matched the most pictures with the right people at the party. During the party, have a few sisters share "heart to heart" with the group about why your sorority sisters are "Sisters of the Heart" or why their Gifts of Sisterhood bring so much joy and meaning to your life.

Or, ask each person to place a personal treasure in a gift box and ask she wrap only the lid (for easy lift off). Go around the circle and share what these treasures mean to each guest and chapter member.

Heart shaped cookies or cakes and punch are fun and easy choices. Or, how about a glass of wine and easy horsd'oeuvres? Be creative and have fun with our new International theme.

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