Deep in the Heart of Texas
A Personal Blog of Texas First Lady Cecilia Abbott
Friday, May 20, 2016
Texas women are the backbone of our great State. Women embody strength, courage, perseverance, and grace. However, sometimes even the strongest woman needs help. For women across Texas, postpartum depression is a serious condition that can affect a mother and child long after childbirth.
Postpartum depression affects approximately 70,000 Texas women every year. Common signs of postpartum depression are inability to sleep even when the baby is sleeping, feelings of guilt or inadequacy, and failure to bond with the baby. However, symptoms may vary from woman to woman; that is why information and a good support system are important to a new mother's overall well-being. Postpartum depression is treatable and there are many resources available for women to get the help they need.
May is Postpartum Depression Awareness Month in Texas, and I hope to help raise awareness about this critical issue to ensure all Texas women know they are not alone. By raising awareness about the signs of postpartum depression, the resources available to women, and the importance of seeking help, I am confident we can ensure a better and healthier future for all Texans.
If you, or someone you know is suffering from postpartum depression I encourage you to contact your healthcare provider to discuss what resources are available. This month, we, as women of the great State of Texas, stand in solidarity as friends, sisters, daughters, and mothers to fight postpartum depression.
Wednesday, May 18, 2016
Did you know that Texas is home to more than 3.2 million residents over the age of 65? As a former employee of a senior health care company, I cherish our senior Texans and believe that they greatly enrich our state and society with their wisdom and unique contributions. That is why I am pleased that Greg recently declared May as Elder Abuse Prevention Month in Texas. This is an important step in helping to raise awareness about the critical issue of elderly abuse.
Unfortunately, elderly Texans are particularly susceptible to becoming victims of abuse, neglect and exploitation. Emotional abuse, forced isolation, financial exploitation and physical injury are just a few examples of the types of mistreatment that the elderly is vulnerable to. In 2015 alone, the Adult Protective Services division of the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services investigated more than 78,000 complaints of abuse of elderly or disabled Texans. If you encounter any signs of abuse or neglect, you are obligated to report it to the proper authorities through services like the Texas Abuse Hotline. You can do so by calling (800) 252-5400 or by visiting the Texas Abuse Hotline website.
Greg and I encourage all Texans to ensure that we are taking the very best care of our seniors by helping us raise awareness of the issue of elderly abuse. We must work diligently to protect this treasured population from these terrible crimes.
First Lady Cecilia Abbott visiting AGE of Central Texas.
Friday, May 13, 2016
Last night I had the pleasure of attending “High Heels for Hot Meals,” benefitting The Kitchen, which operates the Meals on Wheels program for Wichita Falls as well as three other programs serving the Wichita Falls community: the Red Door Senior Citizens Center, the Green Door Senior Citizens Center, and Kid’s Meals.
I recently announced the launch of my Texanthropy initiative, which I will use to promote volunteerism and service to others as my primary focus as First Lady of Texas. Through Texanthropy, I hope to inspire all Texans to find a way to give back to their communities, which is precisely what the Wichita Falls community is doing by supporting The Kitchen and its four wonderful programs. It was such an honor to be with so many who are willing to give of themselves to help others. I applaud Wichita Falls for its commitment to elevate the importance of volunteerism and service to others. Keep up the great work!
Tuesday, May 10, 2016
I am thrilled to once again serve as Honorary Chair of the Governor’s Volunteer Awards. The Governor’s Volunteer Awards are administered by the OneStar Foundation and they fall right in line with my Texanthropy initiative, because they give me the chance to help honor and celebrate those who have answered the call to service.
Nominations are now open. 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 categories are:
Governor’s Lone Star Achievement
First Lady’s Rising Star
Partners in Education
Service to Veterans
Higher Education Community Impact
Corporate Community Impact
National Service “Make a Difference” Award
To see the 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, go to http://app.reviewr.com/s1/site/onestarfoundation.
Nominations will close on Thursday, June 30, 2016, and awardees will be honored in October at an evening reception at the Governor’s Mansion.
Photo of Greg and me with the 2015 Governor’s Volunteer Award winners.
Friday, May 06, 2016
It was my pleasure to continue the grand tradition of the Texas Historical Commission Texas Main Street Program’s First Lady’s Tour this year. I was in Sherman on Wednesday and Corpus Christi and Brownsville today for the annual event celebrating Texas Main Street communities and welcoming the three Texas communities as the program’s newest members.
During all three visits, 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 an economic development, revitalization, and preservation program for historic downtowns administered by the Texas Historical Commission’s Community Heritage Development Division. The Program works with local officials on revitalization plans that maintain a community’s authenticity while promoting job creation and economic development. Today, there are 87 official Texas Main Street programs. The programs are in communities of all sizes, ranging from less than 2,000 to more than 240,000 in population, and in all areas of Texas.
It is clear that these communities know the importance of a historic, yet vibrant, downtown. All across Texas – from our busy urban centers to our treasured small towns – it is in our downtowns where the past, present and future meet, and a sense of community grows. I congratulate Sherman, Corpus Christi and Brownsville on their work to make their communities shine even brighter through historic preservation and economic development.
Wednesday, May 04, 2016
It’s Texas Travel and Tourism Week and when it comes to family travel, Texas is full of possibilities. Our state boasts more than 600 miles of coastline, scenic mountain ranges, numerous national parks, historic sites and more. This week, take time to explore our great state and cross some items off your #TexasToDo list. With activities like dolphin watching, deep sea fishing, bird watching and hiking, Texans have multitudes of vacation opportunities right in our backyards. Here’s a quick video on the many wonders the Lone Star State has to offer.
With great weather and plenty of activities to keep the whole family busy and having fun, you can’t go wrong with a vacation in your home state. For more information about travel experiences in the Lone Star State, visit http://www.traveltexas.com/ and follow Texas Tourism on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Friday, April 29, 2016
April was Volunteer Month in Texas, and Greg took this opportunity to pay tribute to the importance of volunteering with a proclamation. In the proclamation he says:
- "Lending a hand to those in need is a timeless Texas tradition, and every day ordinary men and women make a mark on their communities through volunteerism and service. Volunteer organizations across the Lone Star State are dedicated to marshaling community spirit."
I couldn't agree more! Over the last fifteen months, I have had the opportunity to travel all across the Lone Star State. From El Paso to Beaumont...from Lubbock to McAllen, 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.
Earlier this week I announced the launch of “Texanthropy,” a new initiative that I will use to promote volunteerism and service to others as my primary focus as First Lady of Texas. I look forward to working with all Texans to bring together the two things that I am most passionate about – Texas and philanthropy. Through Texanthropy, I hope to inspire more Texans to get involved and help make a difference through service and volunteering. To learn more about Texanthropy, visit http://gov.texas.gov/texanthropy/.
While April was Volunteer Month in Texas, the need for volunteers is not limited to a single month. I encourage all Texans to volunteer any time, and in any way that you can. With your help, I know we can work together to help enrich the lives of all Texans through volunteerism and service.
Friday, April 22, 2016
I want to remind all Texans that this weekend you will be able to purchase emergency preparation supplies tax-free! During the 84th Legislative Session, Greg signed SB 904 into law, allowing for sales tax exemptions on emergency supplies. The tax-free weekend begins at 12:01 a.m. on Saturday, April 23rd, and ends at midnight on Monday, April 25th. Texans are projected to save $1.4 million in state and local sales taxes during the holiday.
- “The storm system currently moving through the State of Texas is a powerful reminder of the important role early preparation plays in protecting Texans from the effects of severe weather,” said Governor Abbott. “I applaud the legislature for approving this vital tax relief for Texas families and urge all Texans to take advantage of this weekend’s tax holiday so they can be prepared for any and all severe weather."
Items that qualify for the exemption include certain portable generators, hurricane shutters, ladders, portable self-powered light sources, fuel containers, radios, batteries, smoke detectors, fire extinguishers and first aid kits.
For a full list of emergency preparation supplies that may be purchased tax-free, visit the Comptroller’s website.
Tuesday, April 19, 2016
For 100 years, the National Park Service has been protecting and preserving treasured places throughout the United States. From the first national park at Yellowstone, the National Park Service now oversees more than 400 sites.
Within the Lone Star State, we have 13 locations. Big Bend National Park and Guadalupe Mountains National Park provide outdoor adventurers with challenging hiking opportunities and the chance to explore some of Texas’ highest peaks. Padre Island National Seashore allows visitors to explore our diverse coastal ecosystem, and Big Thicket National Preserve displays the majesty of our state’s dense forest region. These are but a few examples of the opportunities Texans have to get out and enjoy our national park system right here at home.
Greg has declared April 16 to 24 as National Park Week in Texas, and we encourage all Texans to join us in celebrating the centennial of the National Park Service and learn more about and explore the amazing beauty of our national parks.
To get a glimpse of what some of the Lone Star State's national parks have to offer, watch the video below from the Governor's Economic Development & Tourism Division.
Friday, April 15, 2016
Since 1967, the Governor’s Commission for Women – a division of the Texas Governor’s Office – has served as a liaison between Texas women and government agencies, as well as private entities addressing women’s needs. The Commission helps women identify information and services best suited to their needs, as well as find solutions to emerging issues facing women. The Commission also promotes opportunities for Texas women through outreach, education, research and referral services. And, the Commission serves not only individual needs, but also those of organizations working to help women in their communities.
The Commission has been tasked with increasing opportunities in five key areas:
- Women-owned businesses
- Education through STEM
- Women and children’s health
- Women Veterans and service members
Another important duty of the Commission is coordinating and hosting the biennial Texas Women’s Hall of Fame Awards, which honors outstanding women in Texas. The Commission is now accepting nominations for the Texas Women’s Hall of Fame. Nominations must be submitted by Friday, April 29th, 2016 at 12:00pm. To view and download a copy of the application, please click here.
In March, Greg issued an Executive Order relating to the Commission, and also announced the appointment of 15 new amazing commissioners. These women represent many diverse professional and personal backgrounds and hail from all regions of the Lone Star State. They reflect the incredible strength and diversity of women leaders in Texas, and Greg and I look forward to working with the Commission and its 15 new commissioners to empower women, families, communities, and the entire State of Texas.
(PHOTO: Office of theGovernor, 3/30/2016)
Tuesday, April 05, 2016
The Texas Governor’s Commission for Women is now accepting nominations for the Texas Women’s Hall of Fame. Nominations are open to any native or current residents of Texas, living or deceased, who have made significant contributions that have benefitted the State of Texas.
Coordinated by the Texas Governor’s Commission for Women, the Hall of Fame includes former first ladies, astronauts, entrepreneurs and Olympic athletes - just to name a few. These extraordinary women have inspired generations of Texans through their many invaluable contributions to the greatness of our state - whether it be in public service, philanthropy and community service, business, education, or the arts. If you know someone who fits this description and deserves to be inducted into the Texas Women's Hall of Fame, I encourage you to nominate them!
Nominations must be submitted by Friday, April 29th, 2016 at 12:00pm. To view and download a copy of the application, please click here .
Tuesday, March 29, 2016
In Case You Missed It - WFAA: Celebrating National Women’s History Month at Texas Woman’s University
I wanted to share with you this wonderful story that WFAA TV in Dallas-Fort Worth put together featuring Texas Women's University in Denton and the many exhibits TWU has celebrating Texas women, including the Texas Women's Hall of Fame, the Texas First Ladies Historic Costume Collection, the Women Airforce Service Pilots of World War II archive, and others. To view the clip, click here or on the image below.