Office of the Governor - Greg Abbott

Deep in the Heart of Texas

A Personal Blog of Texas First Lady Cecilia Abbott

  • Thursday, April 27, 2017

    April is Volunteer Month

    Over the last two years, I have had the opportunity to travel all across the Lone Star State: from El Paso to Beaumont, from Amarillo to McAllen, and many communities in between. I have met so many individuals, and visited numerous organizations, who are so willing to give their time, talent, or treasure to help their fellow Texans.

    That is why I have made promoting service and volunteerism my top priority as First Lady, and that is why I established my Texanthropy initiative. Through Texanthropy, I am bringing together the two things that I am most passionate about – Texas and philanthropy.

    Indeed, lending a hand to those in need is a timeless Texas tradition.

    From building homes for veterans and mentoring students to visiting patients in hospitals and walking homeless dogs – no matter the cause, volunteers provide a priceless gift to their communities.

    Each April, we celebrate all of those who volunteer in one way or another by designating April as Volunteer Month.

    Because of the generosity, kindness, and hard work of the countless Texans who volunteer, the Lone Star State is a better place.

    To all Texans who have answered the call to service through volunteerism: I want to say “thank you” for helping to make Texas such an extraordinary place to call home.

  • Monday, April 24, 2017

    Welcoming the 2017 Texas Main Street Communities

    Last week I had the honor of continuing the grand tradition of the Texas Historical Commission Texas Main Street Program’s First Lady’s Tour. I visited Buda and Linden for the annual event celebrating Texas Main Street communities and welcoming the two Texas communities as the program’s newest members. In both communities I was joined by state and local officials, local business owners and volunteers, and dozens of local residents eager to see the Main Street vision for their respective towns.

    The Texas Main Street Program is a revitalization program for historic downtown and neighborhood commercial districts. Today, there are 89 official Texas Main Street programs. The programs are in communities of all sizes, ranging from less than 2,000 to more than 300,000 in population, and in all areas of Texas. Over time, Texas Main Street communities have created more than $3.4 billion in economic reinvestment, and 35,490 local jobs and almost 9,000 small businesses in their Main Street districts. These reinvestments show that significant economic development impact can be realized through historic preservation. For more information on the Texas Main Street Program, visit http://www.thc.state.tx.us/.

    Main Street communities represent the best of what our state has to offer through their commitment to a historic, yet vibrant, downtown. I congratulate everyone in Buda and Linden who had a hand in their selection as the 2017 Main Street Communities for their work to make their communities shine even brighter through historic preservation and economic development.

  • Thursday, April 06, 2017

    Deadline Extended for Governor’s Volunteer Awards Nominations

    The deadline for nominating an individual or organization for a 2017 Governor’s Volunteer Award has been extended! Texans now have until Monday, April 10, 2017 to submit nominations, so if you know of an individual or organization who has given of their time, talent or treasure to help make a difference in the lives of others, I encourage you to nominate them for one of this year’s eight Governor’s Volunteer Awards.

    The Awards – administered by the OneStar Foundation – honor the contributions of individuals, groups and organizations in Texas that have made a positive impact in their communities or across Texas through service and volunteering. The eight award categories are:

    Governor’s Lone Star Achievement Award
    ​First Lady’s Rising Star Award
    Partners in Education Award
    Service to Veterans Award
    Higher Education Community Impact Award
    Corporate Community Impact Award
    Community Leadership Award
    National Service “Make a Difference” Award

    To see descriptions and criteria for each award, visit http://onestarfoundation.org/texas-faith-based-community-initiative/governors-volunteer-awards/. To submit a nomination for an award, visit https://app.reviewr.com/s1/site/onestarfoundation2017 or email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) for more information. The nominations will close on March 31, 2017.

    The awardees will be honored in the Fall at an evening reception hosted by the First Lady at the Governor’s Mansion. I am looking forward to this opportunity to applaud those who have committed their time, talent or treasure to help create a brighter future for their fellow Texans.

  • Friday, March 31, 2017

    A Place To Stay

    As Texans, we really are one family, and we are called to care for each other. This weekend I am attending a very special event that aims to inspire and educate Texans about the ways they can support one particular population of Texans – the children and families in the state’s foster care system.

    The fun-filled, free, family-friendly The Place to Stay concert will feature the music of Radney Foster and Kyle Hutton from their newly released album, The Foster EP, and it is sure to be a blast! The Foster EP is a collection of songs exploring the emotions and realities of the children in the Texas foster care system, and the concert hopes to inspire and educate attendees on the opportunities to become involved in enriching the lives of these children and families.

    The concert will take place at the LifeAustin Amphitheatre and starts at 6pm. I hope you'll join me, Texas Music Office Director Brendon Anthony, Radney Foster, Kyle Hutton, Texas Department of Family and Protective Services Commissioner Hank Whitman and others on Sunday. Come on out and help support the children and families in the Texas foster care system.

  • Tuesday, March 21, 2017

    Thanking Amarillo Area First Responders

    Yesterday I visited the Amarillo Fire Department Central Fire Station and brought lunch from local restaurant Dyer’s BBQ. While there, I met with local officials, first responders and other organizations that responded to the recent Panhandle wildfires and thanked them for their service to the state and their fellow Texans.

    These first responders worked tirelessly on the front lines of the dangerous Panhandle wildfires over the last few weeks. While the lunch was a way for me to show support and gratitude for these first responders and the courage and heroism they have demonstrated, every single day of the year I give thanks for all Texas first responders and law enforcement and the work they do to keep Texans safe.

    As the Panhandle continues to recover from the devastating impact of the wildfires, Greg and I ask that all Texans continue to keep the Panhandle community in their thoughts and prayers.

    I was also in Amarillo on Sunday evening, where I attended and addressed the 20th Annual Respect Life Banquet. The banquet benefits the Catholic Diocese of Amarillo's Respect Life Ministries, and it was so nice to be among so many Texans who share my passion for protecting unborn children and promoting a culture of life in Texas.

  • Tuesday, March 07, 2017

    The Bluebonnet – The State Flower of Texas

    The universal sign that spring has sprung in Texas is the first sighting of bluebonnets on the roadside. While Texas has many beautiful wildflowers, the official favorite is far and above the bluebonnet. Our state’s love for bluebonnets isn’t anything new. Many generations of Texans have adored bluebonnets. In fact, it was on this day over one hundred years ago – March 7, 1901 to be exact – that the Texas legislature proclaimed the bluebonnet the State Flower of Texas. And thanks to a state highway-beautification program where bluebonnet seed was scattered along roadways, year after year, come Spring, Texans get to enjoy their beauty.

    Photo courtesy of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

    As Governor Wilbert Lee “Pappy” O’Daniel once crooned:

    “Beautiful, Beautiful Texas,
    Where the beautiful bluebonnets grow.”

    This spring, whether you’re taking a walk or going for a drive, take a moment to appreciate our state’s beautiful bluebonnets, just like so many Texans before you have done.

  • Wednesday, March 01, 2017

    Amplify Austin

    Over the past four years, thousands of Austinites have donated millions of dollars to hundreds of local nonprofits through Amplify Austin.

    Amplify Austin is a 24-hour online giving spree where generous Texans can make monetary donations to local nonprofits, with the goal of raising as much money as possible in 24 hours. Just last year, over 61,000 monetary donations were made to a wide variety of nonprofits, all in the name of serving others and strengthening the Austin community. And thanks to the support of generous sponsors, the donations are “amplified” by matching dollars.

    This year’s Amplify Austin starts tomorrow! It begins at 6pm on Thursday, March 2nd and ends 24 hours later at 6pm on Friday, March 3rd.

    If you feel called to serve your fellow Texans by participating in Amplify Austin, I would encourage you to visit http://www.amplifyatx.org/ to learn more about how you can get involved! You can also follow Amplify Austin on Facebook and Twitter, and be sure to use the hashtag #AmplifyATX if you participate!

  • Tuesday, February 14, 2017

    February is Heart Health Awareness Month

    Happy Valentine's Day! Since today is Heart Day, I want to take the opportunity to talk about a very important topic - heart disease.

    It is well known that Texans’ independent spirit and can-do attitude are an integral part of what has made our state into such a wonderful place to live, and has helped to build a bright and prosperous future for Texas. However, many of us do not know or grasp the significant risk heart disease poses to our lives and, thus, the livelihood of our state. Heart disease, which includes strokes and other cardiovascular diseases, is the number one cause of death in the US. The scope and impact of heart disease crosses all racial and ethnic groups, is a major health issue for both men and women, and has affected countless families who have lost loved ones.

    While the threat of heart disease is great, there are many ways in which we can guard against it. One of the most important factors of preventing heart disease is knowing our personal risk factors, which can include, but are not limited to: family history, age, obesity, physical inactivity, diabetes and smoking. Living a healthy lifestyle is also crucial for preventing heart disease. By being active on a regular basis and eating a balanced and healthy diet, we can avoid a greater risk of heart disease.

    As medical professionals treat and continue to research heart disease, it has become clear that prevention of this disease starts with education. That is why February is dedicated to spreading heart health awareness – informing Texans of the substantial threat heart disease poses, as well as the importance of knowing personal risk factors and effective prevention strategies.

    At this time, I encourage all Texans to learn more about heart disease, their personal risk factors, and healthy lifestyle choices that can help prevent it. By securing our health and well-being, we will help create a better future for the Lone Star State.

  • Friday, February 10, 2017

    Texas Bucket List

    With Spring quickly approaching, now is a good time to think about weekend road trips. With over 268,800 square miles, Texas has an abundance of attractions that can be compiled into a fantastic bucket list. Texas Monthly compiled a list of 63 things that “all Texans must do before they die”. Below are a few of my favorites from the article.

    Immerse yourself in the Texas culture by visiting the site of two battles at Adobe Walls, learn to ride a horse or two-step, visit the painted churches in Little Bohemia, enter a chili cook-off, or finally get yourself that pair of custom cowboy boots.

    Click on the boots to watch a video below about the uniquely Texas tradition of custom cowboy boots. To see more videos like this, visit https://www.traveltexas.com/

    Texas has some of the most beautiful landscapes as well as natural attractions. Hiking Palo Duro Canyon, floating the Comal River, attending a star party at the McDonald Observatory, seeing the Marfa lights, or swimming at Dolan Falls are all some of the beautiful and amazing attractions that Texas has to offer.

    It’s no secret that Texas has some of the best food around, so if you’re in the mood for a hearty meal, here are a few ideas: stop in to Mary’s Café in Strawn for their famous chicken-fried steak, Snow’s in Lexington for some middle-of-nowhere-finger-licking barbecue, Perini Ranch Steakhouse in Buffalo Gap for a mesquite coal-cooked steak, or H&H Car Wash and Coffee Shop in El Paso for delicious Mexican food while you get your car washed, just to name a few. If you’re just in the mood for a drink, you can visit some historic places such as K. Spoetzl Brewery in Shiner, the Mansion on Turtle Creek in Dallas, Railroad Blues in Alpine, or grab a Dublin Dr. Pepper made with pure cane sugar.

    Whether it’s exploring, eating, or just enjoying the view, Texas has countless pastimes and adventures to offer. Now is as good a time as ever to venture out and explore the rich history and wonder that is our great State of Texas!

  • Friday, February 03, 2017

    Nominate Someone You Know for the Governor’s Volunteer Awards

    It’s that time of year again! Nominations for the 2017 Governor’s Volunteer Awards are open, and I am honored to once again chair this year's awards and help celebrate my fellow Texans who have answered the call to service.

    The Awards – administered by the OneStar Foundation – honor the contributions of individuals, groups and organizations in Texas that have made a positive impact in their communities or across Texas through service and volunteering. The eight award categories are:

    Governor’s Lone Star Achievement Award
    ​First Lady’s Rising Star Award
    Partners in Education Award
    Service to Veterans Award
    Higher Education Community Impact Award
    Corporate Community Impact Award
    Community Leadership Award
    National Service “Make a Difference” Award

    To see descriptions and criteria for each award, visit http://onestarfoundation.org/texas-faith-based-community-initiative/governors-volunteer-awards/. To submit a nomination for an award, visit https://app.reviewr.com/s1/site/onestarfoundation2017 or email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) for more information. The nominations will close on March 31, 2017.

    The awardees will be honored in the Fall at an evening reception hosted by the First Lady at the Governor’s Mansion. I am looking forward to this opportunity to applaud those who have committed their time, talent or treasure to help create a brighter future for their fellow Texans.

  • Tuesday, January 10, 2017

    Law Enforcement Appreciation Day

    Yesterday was Law Enforcement Appreciation Day in Texas - a day where we can show our support and gratitude for those in law enforcement who put their lives on the line to keep Texans safe. We participated by lighting the Governor's Mansion blue last night.

    Photo courtesy Office of the Governor

    Greg also posted a video message that said, in part: "At a time when law enforcement officers are increasingly coming under attack, I hope my fellow Texans will join me in showing gratitude to the men and women of law enforcement. As Governor I will continue to do everything I can to make sure that we keep our law enforcement officers well equipped and safe, because I want them to know that Texas has their back.”

    I join Greg in expressing my support and gratitude for the law enforcement officers across Texas who work hard every day to make our state safer for all.

  • Friday, January 06, 2017

    A Look Back at 2016

    2017 is here, and a new year brings new resolutions, plans, and new beginnings. But I want to take a quick look back at 2016, because it was a very important year for me – it was the year I launched Texanthropy!

    Through Texanthropy, I am making volunteerism and service to others my primary focus as First Lady of Texas. I have already met so many Texans who are doing wonderful things to help their fellow Texans. Here’s a quick look back at just a few Texanthropists I met in 2016:

    2016 Governor’s Volunteer Awards Winners

    Archer Hadley

    2016 Texas Nonprofit Summit Series

    Mace Massingill, Hunger Fighter

    The Sickle Cell Association of Texas

    In 2017, I look forward to continuing to work to bring together the two things that I am most passionate about – Texas and philanthropy. With your help, I hope to inspire more Texans to get involved and help make a difference through service and volunteering.