Bound By the Ties of Friendship

Sometimes it is hard to put into words what an experience means to you.

Ten years ago, I started an experience that changed so many things for me.

I joined an honors fraternity.

Phi Sigma Pi was more than just a resume builder, although it did plenty of that.


I gained friends and family. My best friends came from this organization.

It was a platform for me to become a leader and learn how to be confident in who I was. It gave me opportunities I would never have dreamed of putting myself in, even long after I graduated.

I was able to travel and make connections across the country.

It was also just a lot of fun. PSP things are some of my fondest memories of college. We had meetings I will never forget, events that make my heart smile, and relationships that have gotten me through so many things good and bad.

This organization is a big reason why I want to do the job that I do. I saw how impactful being involved can be for my own success and connection to a university. The ideals of scholarship, leadership, and fellowship have shaped my Student Affairs philosophy. I can honestly say I would not be the person I am today without being a brother in Phi Sigma Pi. (Yes it is a brother. It was a co-ed organization). Obviously, I would encourage others to be in PSP too, which is a big reason I assisted with the charter and activation of the chapter at Iowa State. Although, I feel that any positive connection to a university is going to have such a drastic influence on students.

I can’t believe that it was 10 years ago I was waiting for my bid card on 3rd floor Hosey with several other people from my floor. I was uneasy about joining because it was so out of my comfort zone, but knew that I needed to branch out more. That’s what college was for. It was honestly one of the best and most transformative decisions I made while at Central.


This was my rush class in 2004.

Today is our Founder’s Day! Happy 98 years Phi Sigma Pi!


Founder’s Day was always really special for our chapter, because we were the founding institution of the organization.

So as the Alpha chapter, we felt like we were celebrating more than most chapters. This was our only Founder’s Day, so we had to do it up big.


We visited the grave sites of our founders every year since they were buried in town. It sounds a little creepy, but it was actually really cool. And inevitably every year, we couldn’t find one of the headstones.

And now for the crazy amounts of photos I have of PSP.

Hey, it has been 10 years in the making so I have just a few!


This was at a regional conference.


It is so funny to look back and remember what was happening then and see where we have ended up now. Rianna (left) is a fellow Army spouse, and Jeannette (right) now has two bouncing baby boys.


Jess and I did so much together in college! She was one of the first people I met at Central.


Janelle (who is another military significant other) and I at a jello fight turned mud brawl. Come to think of it, there are A LOT of us who have become MILSOs.


Officially becoming alumni brothers.


My family had a unique way of expressing ourselves.


I was fortunate enough to win a national scholarship through the organization while in New Orleans.
So honored and touched!


Mr. and Ms. Phi Sigma Pi
(I told you PSP was a big deal to me!)


We were some of the lone survivors of our class to the bitter end. We came in together and went out together.


It gave me plenty of opportunities to dress up.


At a western themed social


And I got to craft! What a deal!


You get to learn from some pretty amazing people.


Most of the time, we were just plain silly.


We knew how to make anything fun.


And again, who doesn’t love dressing up?


This was for a 40s themed event. Whoop Theta class!


I got to show people who was boss during my presidency. (Eh not really though) It is pretty neat to see things that we started during my time still being implemented today in the chapter.


But it really is about the bonds that you make.


These are my best gal pals, Annette and Jeannette! We grew a lot together during our time in PSP.
3 for 3!


And who could forget about formal fun?


This guy is an Alpha alum from way back. He became like a grandfather figure to me when I was president. He wrote such delightfully encouraging letters and would send me birthday and graduation cards for a long time well into grad school. He is a pretty famous person across the nation for PSPers.


We got spirit! Yes we do!

So while I may have been a nerd going in to this honors fraternity, I came out a more mature and self-aware nerd. Some things you just can’t change!

So happy birthday Phi Sigma Pi and thank you for everything you have give so many of us over the years!

Acascuse Me?!?

First of all, if you haven’t watched Pitch Perfect, you need to add it to your life like yesterday. Aca-amazing.

Second of all, this is going to be the post where I pull the Army Wife card. I have pulled back from writing this post when I am highly emotional, and I have debated whether to even write it ever. But I feel that it is a post that needs to be expressed.

Throughout my short career as an Army Spouse, I have been appalled on many occasions at the misunderstandings and perceptions that people in our nation have about the military.

Sometimes I have gotten so angry at an individual’s disdain and rudeness that I think I might throw up. Then I have to remind myself that many people just don’t know.

So let me educate you just a bit from my perspective. These are just a few things and definitely only hit the tip of the iceberg.

1. Men and Women of the military make a choice to defend our freedom and our country’s constitution. They endure months/years of demanding training both mentally and physically to be able to protect the rest of us in our very cushy lives.

2. Ultimately, they do not get to choose the missions they go to or where they are stationed. My husband got out of basic and then not even four months later was sent to Afghanistan. Not exactly how we imagined our second year of marriage.

3. Just because they are trained killers, doesn’t make them crazy and evil. No matter what the news/Capital Hill may say. My husband is one of the most loving, loyal and dedicated people I have ever met. The military is trying to help other nations keep the peace and find the means to better themselves. Our military gets a bad rap because that’s what sells newspapers. Because they wouldn’t want you to know that all over the world, units are supplying food, medical care, education, and just general support to help countries in their time of need.

4. They have the utmost respect for our country’s values. To hear these men and women talk about their pride or watch them when the national anthem is played-it leaves me speechless. Many of them learn how to care and be considerate of others because of what they have been through in the military. I think many people in our nation could take a lesson from what the military teaches about respect.

5. Not all people in the military are homophobes. Stop labeling them as such. That just makes you the judger.

6. Deployment is not vacation, even if they are surrounded by sand. There are no beachy umbrella drinks found here.

  • They can’t call home whenever they want. And when they do, it is not a private call. It may only last 30 seconds, but could last 30 minutes. But you never know when you get that call.
  • They can’t eat whatever they want. At Tom’s station there was one cook for the unit. So you ate when they served. If you happen to have night duty, you ate what family/friends sent you in care packages or MREs because the cook wasn’t on duty. Dietary choice is no longer a luxury. (However, my husband does love those MREs.)
  • My husband’s living situation was a room that is smaller than most walk in closets. This is where all of his gear and cot were. He now lives in a room the size of our bedroom with 7 other men (cots and all their gear).
  • They may not have typical modern toilets and have more of an outhouse situation going on. Can you imagine going in a port-a-potty for 9 months?
  • It isn’t a walk in the park. It’s dirty, temperatures cannot be controlled…most Americans would be miserable in their conditions. (I know I wouldn’t last one day…) But they do it willingly, many signing up for re-enlistment for a shot at another deployment.
  • They may have internet, but the connection isn’t as nice as they make it out to be on TV. Tom and I were only recently able to skype and even now the video is about 3 minutes behind on the audio which can make things weird while you are talking. Some places have it capable in their room and some don’t. Some have to wait in line to only have a few minutes online. And there are some people out there that believe that since they have internet that their deployments must be a breeze and not so horrible for the internet and Facebook must mean 1st world living.  Seriously?
  • They are away from their loved ones and miss out on holidays, birthdays, big milestones, and just every day life. This has got to be one of the biggest sacrifices of all.
  • I could keep going, but I won’t. Just know that they are making substantial sacrifices and don’t act like it is nothing just because you may not agree with why they are over there.

7. There are a lot of good things that come out of a military career as well. To name a few:

  • You have a paying job and benefits, which in this economy is a blessing.
  • Education can be paid for. Yay no debts!
  • You get to see and experience the world. I know I have really enjoyed the unique knick knacks that have been sent home from other cultures.
  • There is support for not just you, but your entire family. This includes benefits, housing, education, lifestyle, counseling, etc.
  • Great sense of accomplishment and pride. Not everyone can do what they do.

I am not trying to say that being in the military makes you better than those that aren’t. We each have our own thing, and Lord knows that not everyone would flourish in a military lifestyle. What I am saying is that our country needs to take a little more time understanding what the military endures to protect us.

This week I had to deal with a financial situation where we were being charged for something that we had thought we had taken care of. Since it was Tom’s card, the customer service rep said I was not an authorized user. Even after explaining the situation, giving them all the card information, and letting them know I had power of attorney, they still denied me the right to take care of it. And they just kept saying, “Well you can take this into a branch to speak with someone in person.” The closest branch for this organization was 163 miles away. Then they said that since I was not authorized to do so my deployed husband could just call and take care of the dispute. They said this even after I explained to them repeatedly that he was deployed.

Oh no girl, you didn’t. Them is fighting words.

This situation made me furious. It takes me a lot to get heated, but this just kind of pushed me over the edge. So naturally I started crying to the rep and blubbering “He is deployed” over and over again. I was totally trying to pull the Army Wife card, and it just wasn’t working! He can’t just call willy nilly, he is half-way across the globe! I can’t just make him appear to fix this issue. Believe me, if I had that power, I’d be on that. (FYI, they still did nothing to help me that day. Tom ended up having to call when he could to take care of it, which was uber frustrating for both of us.)

It is situations like that that just make me sad and angry. There are so many misconceptions around the military, so please seek first to understand their situations. Even if you don’t agree with their purpose, they have a unique story to tell and has a right to be heard. They make sacrifices that even I don’t always understand. I have to check myself sometimes too, so I know it is not an easy pill to swallow.

These sacrifices are made so that we can live as a free nation. Our history is based on acts that service members have diligently fought and died for so we could get to where we are. Take a moment to honor that, I mean you are on the internet and all. 🙂

Maybe if we all knew what was at risk, we would be more appreciative of what we have.

I know after this experience I am.

One thing I know is that the military is a proud group who is willing to fight for the country and you. But I will ask you, who is fighting for them?

So with that little nugget to munch on, I will move on to my craft.

Every year I take some time to make a blanket for my honors fraternity, Phi Sigma Pi. We have an auction every spring as a fundraiser, and my contribution, even after graduating 5 years ago, is mailing in a homemade crocheted blanket. So each year, I come up with some new design and pull out yarn that are some shade of yellow and purple. It’s like my yearly challenge to come up with something better than the year before. Sometimes, I surprise myself with my creativeness and skill; other times I am just hoping someone will bid at least $5.

This year was a good year.

I tried a new stitch-the treble crochet.

My pattern was:

1. 3 single white on each end

2. purple 1 treble, 1 single, 1 treble, 1 single, 1 treble

3. 2 single white

4. repeat step two with yellow.

5. repeat step 3.

6. repeat step 2-5 until hit desired size.

I really like the effect of the treble.


And here is the full effect with Grace hogging the limelight as well.